tue 15/10/2019

Destination Wedding review - a misanthropic modern-day romance | reviews, news & interviews

Destination Wedding review - a misanthropic modern-day romance

Destination Wedding review - a misanthropic modern-day romance

Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder reunite in the sunny climes of Southern California

Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder: 'only linked by their plethora of ticks and pessimistic outlooks'

Recently, Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder have found themselves in a career renaissance. Reeves has made a remarkable comeback as the dog-loving action-hero John Wick, while Ryder won audiences over as the grief-stricken mother, Joyce Byers, in Netflix’s 80s nostalgia-fest Stranger Things.

The prospect of the duo being reunited following their past on-screen appearances in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, A Scanner Darkly and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee is more than enough to trigger audience interest. After all, for a time they were two of the biggest stars in Hollywood, who wouldn’t want to see them back together in a romcom?

As a meditation on finding mid-life love, it’s just too bitter

This low-fi tale of middle-aged misanthropy centres on marketing exec Frank (Reeves) and liberal lawyer Lindsay (Ryder), thrust together when both are invited to a wedding in the scenic setting of Paso Robles, Southern California.

The groom is Frank’s half-brother, Keith (Ted Dubost), who also happens to be Lindsay’s ex. It’s a screwball set-up, with director Victor Levin aiming for something close to Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy, laced with a collection of sub-par pithy ripostes you’d expect from a latter-day Woody Allen film.

At first, there’s a great deal of pleasure to be derived from this neurotic pair, who seem at total odds, only linked by their plethora of ticks and pessimistic outlooks. Their bickering triggers a wry smile, and eases you into your seat knowing exactly where this is all heading.Destination WeddingBut gradually it dawns on you that the entire film stays in this one key throughout. What was at once charming and sharply written, transforms into a groan-inducing endurance test. Frank constantly takes pot-shots at Lindsay’s beliefs, while Lindsay delivers forensic take-downs of Frank’s outlook. The two never become close; instead they wallow in each other’s mutual nihilism.

As a meditation on finding mid-life love, it’s just too bitter. The characterisation is little more than a collection of one-liners and clichés. While Reeves and Ryder have an undeniable charm, the film soon becomes very monotonous (and this from the same man that won an Emmy nomination for his work on Mad Men). The repetitive plot moves from wedding event to wedding event. Thankfully, the sunny setting distracts us for a time – Levin clearly has an eye for capturing a beautiful backdrop.

Throughout the wedding, guests dodge Frank and Lindsey, and with good reason. They are energy vampires, sucking the joy from life. Like a wedding cake left out in the rain, the initial promising premise of this film soon collapses into a mess that no-one can stomach.

@JosephDAWalsh

While Reeves and Ryder have an undeniable charm, the film soon becomes very monotonous

rating

Editor Rating: 
1
Average: 1 (1 vote)

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