Tuesday 10 September 2019

Destination Wedding ★☆☆☆☆

When we look back in many years’ time, we will remember each period as being linked to key figures. And after the last few years of one of the most inexplicable and yet ‘breathtaking’ resurgences, this period is going to be the era of Keanu Reeves. Thanks to John Wick, some truly hilarious(ly bad) straight-to-DVD titles and his scene-stealing work in Toy Story 4, Reeves has truly become a walking meme. So, of course, it is time for him to drop a rom-com. And it is every bit as bad as you might expect.

When Frank (Reeves) and Lindsay (Winona Ryder) meet on their way to a wedding, they soon discover they have a lot in common: they both hate the bride, the groom, the wedding, themselves, and each other. As the weekend's events continually force them together -- and their cheerlessness immediately isolates them from the other guests -- Frank and Lindsay find that if you verbally spar with someone long enough, anything can happen.

This is really a rom-com for our time – packed to the brim with cynicism and hate, it is a relatable affair and a pretty realistic indicator of how love blossoms these days – with mutual vitriol. But despite this refreshing portrayal of modern love, the film falls totally flat. For starters, and it upsets me to say this, but Reeves and Ryder are shit in it. Their chemistry is totally non-existent and they don’t seem to be really making any effort whatsoever with the mediocre material in front of them. Some of the scenes between them fall flat with a deafening thud and it’s not even laughably bad, it’s just bad. And without a sharp, biting script, these hateful characters are just aggressively unlikeable.

This is very much a two-person show. With the focus entirely on the two leads, every other character is completely one-dimensional and unexplored, reduced to extras. For me, this approach worked. We’ve all been to a wedding where we don’t know anybody and it just seems like a faceless mass of ‘room meat’. Destination Wedding portrays that interestingly by giving zero character to any of the guests and leaving us in the company of Reeves and Ryder alone – but, in doing that, their painful lack of chemistry is all the more apparent.

Destination Wedding could’ve been a delight. A Reeves romcom, reuniting with his old co-star Ryder (they worked together on The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and A Scanner Darkly in the past), should’ve been at least watchable. But unfortunately, it’s just a tedious slog that neither of the leads seem to want to have anything to do with. The script is clunky and without any real bite to the dialogue which, as I mentioned earlier, just makes the two characters unpleasant – and spending 90 minutes in their company is not a pleasant way to spend your time. Watching this film is like being at a wedding you don’t want to be at. Except this film is a CHOICE. You don’t have to be here. Despite any goodwill, you might have for Keanu, avoid this one like the plague.

Sam Love

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