Movie Review: "Love Wedding Repeat"
Love Wedding Repeat
Hayley (Eleanor Tomlinson) is getting married. However, her brother Jack (Sam Claflin) is shocked when he discovers that her friend Dina (Olivia Munn) will be at the wedding. He had met Dina years ago, and the two hit it off, but he missed his opportunity to ask her out. He has not seen her in years, but he hopes this is his chance to tell her how he feels about her. However, they will be sat at the same table as Jack’s ex-girlfriend (Freida Pinto) and her new boyfriend (Allan Mustafa). Jack and his ex-girlfriend had what ended up being a nasty relationship, and the two have a mutual hatred for one another, so their seating arrangement will certainly be awkward.
Unfortunately, Dina is not the only surprise guest at the wedding, as Hayley’s unstable ex-boyfriend Marc (Jack Farthing) crashes the wedding. He is still obsessed with Hayley, and intends to ruin her wedding so that they can be together. If he was not already unstable—which he definitely was—all of the cocaine in his system would surely be enough to put him there. Thus, while Jack wants more than anything to reunite with Dina, his sister has tasked him with dealing with Marc. Unfortunately, Jack’s plan goes horribly wrong, and if he cannot get things under control, his sister’s wedding could be ruined.
The Pros & Cons
Jack & Dina (+6pts)
Supporting Characters (+5pts)
The Premise & The Music (+2pts)
Pro: Jack & Dina (+6pts)
Jack and Dina's relationship was really the focal point of the movie. Sure, the setting was Hayley's wedding, but Jack was really the main character of this story, and getting together with Dina was his primary goal. Because of that, Jack and Dina's relationship needed to work, and I thought that it did. Sam Claflin and Olivia Munn worked well together on screen. They had chemistry right off the bat, and their first scenes together really set a solid foundation for rest of the movie.
I bought that the two hit it off, so I bought Jack's determination to reunite with her. Unfortunately, I found the whole chance thing ridiculous—that was deserving of its own section in this review—but everything else about these two characters worked for me, so I was invested their potential romance. All of the chaotic things that happened in this story were like scattered points on a graph, and Jack's pursuit of Dina was like the trendline through it all. Could their story have been more impactful than it was? Sure, but I was certainly invested in seeing how it would end.
Con: Chance (-4pts)
In the beginning of the movie the filmmakers wanted us to believe that Jack missed his chance with Dina for reasons that were out of his control. However, I did not buy that. He had several opportunities to ask her out, even when the filmmakers wanted us to believe otherwise. There seemed to be an infinite number of things that he could have said or done if he really wanted to ask Dina out, and he had every opportunity to do so. If the filmmakers wanted to focus on his shyness being what led to him missing his chance, that would have been fine, but instead they focused on him just having bad luck, and I did not buy it.
That was not even the only time that “chance” was used as a lazy plot device for the writer. Later, the whole plot of the movie hinged on the luck of who got to sit with who, but all the characters involved were sat at the same table and could have just switched seats with one another. I liked Jack and Dina’s relationship and chemistry together, and I liked the premise of an assortment of people with complex history with one another seated at the same table at a wedding. However, I thought the filmmakers set it up in a really lazy way that did not make any sense.
Pro: Supporting Characters (+5pts)
The supporting cast was made up of a number of entertaining, peculiar, and interestingly complex characters. First there was Sidney (Tim Key), the socially awkward single guy who was trying to hit on Dina the whole time. Then there were Amanda (Freida Pinto) and Chaz (Allan Mustafa), Jack’s crazy ex-girlfriend and her insecure new boyfriend. These three characters served as effective obstacles for Jack. He had to try to talk to Dina by first getting Sidney off of her. He also had to deal with Amanda and her jealous new boyfriend who was convinced that Jack was trying to win Amanda back. These characters made for a number of funny moments, but they were also effective as obstacles in Jack’s story.
The supporting cast did not stop there, however. There was also Bryan (Joel Fry), Jack and Hayley’s best friend and Hayley’s maid of honor. He (an actor) was obsessed with talking to and impressing a director at the wedding, but he was also a good friend and tried to help Jack whenever he could. Finally there was Rebecca (Aisling Bea), a good friend of Jack and Hayley’s who seemed to have a crush on Bryan. These two characters mainly served as comedic characters, and they were effective in that role. This was hardly a laugh-out-loud comedy, but with this assortment of characters and their varying goals, this movie felt unpredictable and was filled with amusing moments.
Con: Repeat (-5pts)
The night before watching this movie, I watched the episode of Community when the group was having a pizza and game night. When the pizza arrived, they decided to roll a die to determine who would have to go get the pizza. This led to one character claiming that this act of involving chance into their everyday lives would create six timelines (one timeline for each possible outcome). The episode then went on to show how things would have played out for each of these timelines.
The reason I brought this up, is that the filmmakers did more or less the same thing with this movie. It worked in Community because it made sense, given the characters involved, so the episode worked from a story perspective. Unfortunately, I did not think the same was true for this movie. There was an act of chance in this movie that basically spun off into eight different timelines, but the problem was that no character was aware of it. Because of that, showing the different timelines did not make much sense from a story perspective. It was basically an unnecessary gimmick that did nothing but make the movie longer. The gimmick worked within the context of the story in the episode of Community, but it did not work here, and I think the movie would have been better off if they picked one of the outcomes and just stuck with it.
Pro: The Premise & The Music (+2pts)
The premise of this movie was simple enough, but it worked. A wedding with various characters’ unstable exes being in attendance, and an assortment of characters with varying intentions made for an unpredictable story. Then there was the music, which may sound weird that I am mentioning it at all, but during some of this movie’s slower sections, the filmmakers chose great music to have playing in the background. The music they chose was high energy and intense, so these slower sections did not feel slow at all. It was a movie with a simple but effective premise, and the filmmakers masterfully chose music that made the movie’s slower sections feel anything but.
Con: Marc (-2pts)
This character was supposed to be the tornado that shook everything up. He was threatening to ruin the whole wedding, but he really only ever did one thing to do so. I am not going to say whether or not he ruined the wedding in the "true" timeline, but my point is that most of this character's role in this movie was running around threatening to ruin everything, but not really doing anything to achieve his alleged goal. On top of that, the character got no development to explain his extreme view of Hayley, nor did the character get any development to explain his changing motivations.
The character was just a plot device for the filmmakers. They left him conveniently lingering when it was not convenient for the filmmakers for him to ruin the wedding yet. They then brought him to the forefront to threaten everything when it was convenient for the filmmakers to add tension, and they changed his motivations when it was convenient for the filmmakers for the story to go in a specific direction. The character had the potential to be a game changer to this story, but the filmmakers did not use him as they should have.
Grade: C+ (77pts)
I did not have much in the way of expectations when going into this movie. I saw the trailer, I knew it would be a romantic-comedy about a chaotic wedding, and I knew it had a couple lead actors (Sam Claflin and Olivia Munn) who I have liked in other movies, so I gave this movie a shot. Sam Claflin and Olivia Munn did work well together. I liked their characters, thought they had decent chemistry with one another, and I liked the potential relationship that Jack was after, as it was an effective main objective for this story. I was invested in Jack's goal, as well as the obstacles that he had to face. Those obstacles were an assortment of amusing supporting characters that all had their own things going on, and it made this story unpredictable because I never knew what character would be in Jack's way next, and I did not know what they would do when they were in his way.
Unfortunately, I did not think the "repeat" gimmick worked for this story, as it introduced multiple different outcomes, rather than properly fleshing out the one true one. I think it would have worked a lot better if Netflix made this a limited series and had each outcome be its own episode. Instead, they tried to cram it all into one movie, and I do not think it worked in that context. I also did not support the idea of chance that the filmmakers tried to suggest was the cause of all of this, and I did not think the filmmakers used the character Marc effectively at all. I went into the movie with neutral expectations, and I came out of it with mostly neutral opinions. It was just alright. No better, no worse.