Weddings in movies often surface as portents of doom, whether it’s mobster carnage (The Godfather), personal meltdown (Bridesmaids) or brain-bludgeoning banality (Bride Wars).
Brave, then, for Borat writer Dan Mazer to open his directorial debut with a nuptial ceremony. As you’d expect from the man who helped Sacha Baron Cohen concoct naked-wrestling gags, it’s a grimly funny affair (buoyed by un-PC best man Stephen Merchant), signalling that couple Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) could be destined for a very unhappy ever after.
It’s clear that these two aren’t exactly made for each other, anyway. She’s a high-strung PR. He’s a housebound writer. While attending sessions with a mad-hatter marriage counsellor (enter a scene-snaffling Olivia Colman), Nat’s eye is drawn by dashing American client Guy (Simon Baker), while Josh finds old feelings fanned by ex-beau Chloe (Anna Faris). Agreeing to, yep, give it a year, the newlyweds could have quite a challenge on their hands.
Set after the point where most romcoms wrap up, the irreverent IGIAY wants to mess with the genre. On the downside, Byrne is stuck playing the straight gal to Spall’s klutz, meaning the latter ends up with the lion’s share of laughs. Not that the ladies miss out – Minnie Driver is hysterical as Nat’s husband-hating big sis, and Faris’ bedroom set-piece is brilliantly bonkers.
In a film with obvious ambition, though, it’s a shame that it resorts to formula so quickly.With everything tied up in a bow by the end, chances are you’ll be left feeling like the DJ’s packed up and gone home early.
Verdict: Not quite the romcom revolution it wants to be – (500) Days Of Summer teased humour from heartbreak more effectively – but still a gag-filled chuckler with talent to spare. 3/5