Destination Wedding review – Ryder and Reeves carry caustic romance | Film

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He (Keanu Reeves) is a corporate bore with a bad attitude, and the half-brother of the groom. She (Winona Ryder) is an optimist, but an over-thinker, an over-talker and the groom’s ex. Naturally, they hate each other on sight, but trapped at a destination wedding in Californian wine country, they’re “the people you don’t know where to stick” and so they’re stuck together. The way the film skewers the wedding industrial complex (and the romantic comedy’s complicity in it) is very funny. The couple must participate in forced fun, such as an 11am wine tasting and zorbing; twee party favours and internet-ordained priests are rightly ridiculed. The respective star qualities of Reeves and Ryder are mined for comedy, with his action-hero opacity and her chatty neuroticism cannily deployed.

Writer-director Victor Levin’s caustic take on the romcom works better as a treatise on the genre than as an example of it. The staging of the individual scenes feels like an afterthought, with the stars and script doing all the heavy lifting. Still, the scaffolding is there: two charming and capable leads, rapid-fire banter, an airport, a wedding. Levin sketches his thesis through the film’s dialogue. He sends up Frank (Reeves) and Lindsay (Ryder) as self-confessed “trite, trivial, tone-deaf narcissists”, as though anticipating criticism about the characters’ privileged milieu or the genre’s purported irrelevance. “I’m sorry if my brand of pain is out of vogue, but it’s all I’ve got,” scoffs Lindsay. In its worst moments, some of the preemptive verbal jockeying feels defensive and out of touch.

The things it has to say about intimacy, commitment, “the dangled carrot of the future” and the “self-fulfilling prophecy” of cynicism feel fresher. Lindsay insists that even if love is a myth, there must be a sliver of truth, and that the converted have a responsibility “to make others believe”. Against the odds, Reeves and Ryder sell it.

Watch a trailer for Destination Wedding.

Source: The Guardian
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