Friday, June 14, 2013

“Breakup At A Wedding” – Movie Review



This week in my movie class, we saw the new comedy “Breakup At A Wedding”.


When a videographer is hired to record a couple’s wedding, he decides to include all the events leading up to the wedding itself and release it as a documentary – but after the bride informs the groom she’s got cold feet the day before the wedding, they decide to conduct the ceremony without actually getting married.


When Phil & Alison become engaged, they hire Victor as their videographer; fancying himself as the next great documentary filmmaker, Victor decides that instead of merely videotaping the wedding ceremony itself, he will also shoot a considerable amount of behind the scenes footage as well – the bachelor/bachelorette party, rehearsals and private moments between the couple.  Confident he can pull together enough compelling material, he will then try to market it as documentary in order to embark on a new and even more successful career. 

Victor’s video cameras triumphantly manage to capture all of the stress, chaos and panic that inherently lead up to any and every wedding, until something quite unexpected happens.  The night before the actual wedding, Alison confesses to Phil that she really doesn’t want to get married to him at all.  In fact, she wants to break up with him altogether.  Of course, the problem they both face at this point is that it’s far too late to cancel the wedding.  So, they agree to proceed with the ceremony, but won’t sign the marriage certificate so that technically, they won’t be married. 

Crestfallen by Alison’s abrupt reversal, Phil decides to step up his game and use the opportunity of the wedding to convince her that they should indeed be married.  To this end, Phil plans a surprise that he chooses to spring on Alison at the reception, in the hope and expectation that this grand gesture will cause her to snap out of her funk and come to her senses, prompting the epiphany that these two belong together for the rest of their lives.  But when the wedding day arrives and everything that can go wrong does go wrong (and then some), does Phil still have any chance at winning over Alison?


While a noble attempt at an independent comedy, “Breakup At A Wedding” is at least 15 years too late to its own wedding party.  A mockumentary in the spirit of films such as “Spinal Tap” or “Borat” (and television shows like “The Office” and – perhaps to a lesser extent – “Arrested Development”), I believe audiences may have seen this format enough times that unless it either has some kind of twist or unbelievable content, it can just be something of a yawn.   Given that the overwhelming majority of the jokes in “Breakup At A Wedding” are not exactly knock-you-on-your-ass funny, that leaves the film being rather flat.

Another problem I had with “Breakup At A Wedding” was its pacing.  As both a comedy and a documentary (of sorts), it has an appropriate length of an hour and a half.  However, it starts at a somewhat manic pace and tries to maintain that rather frantic level of activity all throughout the movie.  Unfortunately, this results in emotionally wearing down the audience who might be making a valiant attempt to keep up in a race they not only can’t win, but probably won’t even have enough stamina to finish.  When you’re going to make a comedy that’s essentially a faux documentary, it’s the jokes that need to keep you engaged and sadly, they’re not able to keep up with this end of the bargain.

Prior to the screening, our instructor interviewed the filmmakers, director Victor Quinaz and screenwriter Anna Martemucci; following the screening, he interviewed one of its stars, Philip Quinaz, who played the groom (Phil). “Breakup At A Wedding” is very much an all-in-the-family venture – Victor and Anna are husband and wife and they were inspired to make this movie as a result of their own wedding.  Philip, primarily a musician, is Victor’s bother.  Since the movie isn’t going to get a wide release in theaters, you might want to watch for it in the Video-On-Demand section of your cable TV service, or order it online from its Web site by clicking here:  Breakup At A Wedding 

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