Dir. Nigel Cole, UK, 2012, 94 mins
Review by Carol Allen
This very British comedy from the Calendar Girls team of director Nigel Cole and writer Tim Firth uses the device of the wedding video to tell its story.
Raif (Hound), returning home to be best man at his brother Tim’s (Webb) wedding, has the bright idea for a wedding present of using the camera he has just bought to make a frank, “show it all” video of the whole proceedings from the brothers’ reunion (staged) right through all the preparations to the big day itself. He discovers that Tim is marrying into one of the poshest families in Cheshire. The bride’s mother Alex (Harriet Walter) is a social climber, who has married money, and is determined to make this wedding the social event of the season. But Raif remembers the bride Saskia (Punch) from their schooldays, when she was the scruffy school rebel, always up to naughtiness, and he had a crush on her. And as the preparations for the wedding escalate to lunatic proportions, the questions increasingly arise, “Whose wedding is it anyway?” (which was the original title of the film) and is this what Saskia, Tim and indeed interestingly Raif, really want.?
The film sometimes strains credibility in maintaining the fiction that what we are watching is the final video of the story Raif has shot. It’s too well filmed and edited for a start, and despite the narrative device of “using additional footage” shot by Raif’s best mate Roger (Matt Berry) and a professional wedding video maker, logic sometimes leads one to question some of the scenes.
However, if you can go along with the convention, the film does tell a good and frequently funny tale about the often ridiculous pressures put on all concerned by the demands of the big day. Hound, best known as a stand up comedian and television presenter and soon to star in the touring production of the hit play One Man Two Guvnors, does a creditable job in the lead, well supported by Webb and Punch as the not always happy couple. Walter is particularly good as Alex, funny and touching as a woman whose snobbery and profligacy with money comes out of her earlier struggles as Saskia’s single mum, there’s a nice though too small cameo from Miriam Margolyes as Alex’s grumpy, acid tongued mother and a fun contribution from Michelle Gomez (Green Wing) as the stressed out wedding planner.
There are also some delightfully funny set pieces, one in particular early in the film of another Cheshire high society wedding, which Alex hope to outdo, which climaxes in the bride entering the reception as the figurehead on a baby replica of the Titanic, which runs out of control and deposits her into the ice sculpture. It’s far too well filmed however to have been shot by Raif!