As many of us have spent more time at home than ever before in recent weeks, the question “Hey, what’s on Netflix?” has grown in importance.
But the problem with this is that the bulk of Netflix’s original films aren’t made to distract us from a global pandemic. They are the sort of thing that play best when you’re only half paying attention – preferably while doing laundry, or cooking dinner or distractedly texting someone on the phone.
Take for example, “Love Wedding Repeat,” a completely serviceable British rom-com with beautiful people, screwball hijinks and at least a few good chuckles. It’s not high art, or even a particularly shining example of its genre, but as a mildly amusing time killer, it gets the job done.
The plot, much like that of director/writer Dean Craig’s previous (and better) British farce “Death at a Funeral,” is a comedy of errors and horrible twists of fate. To describe the whole thing is a bit beside the point – as in most rom-coms, the plot is sort of superfluous – but needless to say there is, among other things, a coke-addicted ex-boyfriend of the bride, a sedative taken by someone unintentionally, a boorish lout of a party guest who won’t stop talking about himself and a male maid-of-honor (Joel Fry) who is more interested in securing a film role with a prestigious director than giving his speech.
There is also, as you may have surmised from the title, a “Groundhog Day”-esque time loop twist that pops up more than halfway through the movie for no other reason than that Craig seems to have run out of ideas.
Despite that, the film works well enough – thanks largely to Craig’s admirably game ensemble.
Sam Claflin, as the brother of the bride struggling to keep the wedding afloat, proves himself to be a master of reaction shots. He always looks to be one minute away from a nervous breakdown, but he thankfully never cracks.
Olivia Munn, in a too rare leading lady role, has some nice romantic chemistry with Claflin and some comic chemistry as well. They play off each other beautifully in a scene where Munn opens up to Claflin about the loss of her mother from terminal cancer – just as Claflin’s sedative kicks in.
Fry gets some good laughs in the stock best friend role, and Allan Mustafa, Jack Farthing and Tim Key all hit their marks as various wedding guests/idiots. Eleanor Tomlinson provides the bride with just enough warmth even in the character’s crueler moments.
Not all characters are as well developed, and I felt particularly bad for Tiziano Caputo, as the groom, and the great Freida Pinto, as Claflin’s ex, who seems genuinely bored.
The jokes are all of the low-hanging penis/vomit/drug use variety. They made me chuckle – just not a lot.
I imagine there isn’t enough romance for die-hard rom-com fans, and not enough raunch for people who like that sort of thing. “Love Wedding Repeat” just occupies a sort of vaguely interesting, mildly inoffensive middle ground.
You’re probably better off watching the comedies this one apes- among them “Groundhog Day,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” and “Death at a Funeral”- or any number of classic screwball comedies from “Bringing Up Baby” to “Some Like it Hot.”
But if you’re in your fourth week of quarantine and you’re aching for something new to watch, you could do worse than “Love Wedding Repeat” (rated TV-MA for language). The cast carries it, and the jokes mostly land, which is more than can be said for many comedies these days.
And, if you get bored, well, there’s always that pile of laundry to take care of.
About the author
Stephen Dow is an award-winning journalist with a passion for film – not just consuming it, but thoughtfully and actively engaging with it. He believes that these modern myths have a lot to tell us about our world and ourselves. He can be reached at email@example.com.