Monday, April 16, 2012

Movie – Out at the Wedding (2007)

Ever get caught in a lie and then tell a bigger lie to get out of it?  Ever get caught in that one, and tell an even bigger one?  Perhaps not, but the thing with screwball comedies is that they intentionally go over the top setting up comedic situations.  Out at the Wedding is one such comedy.  I laughed quite a bit at this movie.

Alex Houston (Andrea Marcellus) is a southern gal who moved to New York City.  She is happily engaged to Dana (Mystro Clark), who is an airline pilot.  He also happens to be both black and Jewish.  She figures her southern family would be horrified to learn who she is going to marry, so she has told her fiancée that her family is dead.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, she is set to fly down to attend her younger sister’s wedding.

She and her sister Jeannie (Desi Lydic – Awkward) are somewhat estranged.  When they were younger Jeannie seemed to steal every boyfriend that Alex had.  Alex is also a little distant from her father (Mike Farrell – MASH) because he was hurt when she moved away.  Alex sees this visit as way to possibly heal these wounds.

She needs support, though, so she takes her best friend Jonathan (Charlie Schlatter), who is gay, with her as her “plus one”.  He’s a little mischievous and goes along because he wants to see if her family is as bad as Alex has made them sound.  While there, an old boyfriend of Alex’s asks Jonathan if he and Alex are together.  He says no “because we are both attracted to the same kind of people.”  The old boyfriend doesn’t understand that Jonathan means he is gay; he thinks Jonathan means that Alex is a lesbian.  At first Jonathan goes to correct the misunderstanding, and then gets this expression that says, “This could be fun.”

This information spreads like wildfire during the wedding reception.  Alex has no idea why people are staring at her, or coming up to her and saying things like “You always were athletic as a child.”  The next morning Jonathan finally tells her what has been going on.  At first she is pissed, but he points out that her family doesn’t actually seem to have a big problem with it.  They are more understanding than she gave them credit for.  She decides that it will be easier if she just lets them think this because then she won’t have to answer questions about when she will be getting married.  She figures she’ll go back to New York and that will be the end of it.

It’s not, of course.  Her sister Jeannie is excited for her.  After she gets back from her honeymoon she is going to come to New York so Alex can tell her all about her “new lifestyle”.  In true screwball fashion, the time to tell the truth comes and goes.  Alex figures this will be a good way to continue to reconnect with her sister and Jonathan once again decides to have some fun.  He tells Alex she just needs to find a woman to pretend to be her girlfriend Dana while Jeannie is here.  Alex asks where she’s going to find one because “lesbians don’t just fall from the sky.”  Cue a woman falling off a stepladder and landing beside the two of them.  She’s wearing a shirt that reads “I can’t think straight.”  This is Risa (Cathy DeBuono – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).

She needs the money, so she agrees to participate in this charade.  In order to pass as girlfriends the two need to learn about each other.  There’s a funny visual joke when Alex meets Risa at a gay bar dressed like how she thinks lesbians dress.  The real Dana is away a lot for his job, so Risa is able to pretend to be Dana without him knowing.

Jeannie finally arrives in the city and meets “Dana”.  Everything goes smoothly, right?  Not in a screwball comedy.  Risa just so happens to think Jeannie is cute and Jeannie always used to compete with Alex for boyfriends.  Might this extend to girlfriends, too?  And what happens when everyone runs into the real Dana’s parents (Reginald VelJohnson – Die Hard and Mink Stole – Pink Flamingos)?  As lie piles on top of lie, Alex tries to keep everything from crashing down around her.

If you’re the kind of person who read this and thought, “If she had just told the truth, none of this would have happened”, then this is not the film for you.  Screwball comedies fall apart if you think about them too much.  I was able to shut my brain off and have a great time watching this.  I laughed quite a bit.  I highly recommend this film.

Chip’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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  1. This sounds fun, I love comedies likes this, based on a lot of humour where the main character gets into a big trouble and must cover something up. Great review, I'll try to watch this one soon!