As happily engaged couple Tim (Robert Webb) and Saskia (Lucy Punch) are preparing for their big wedding day, Tim’s brother and best man Raif (Rufus Hound) decides to make a video of their expensive wedding and everything leading up to it as his present to the couple.
Directed by Nigel Cole and written by Tim Firth (both of whom brought us Calendar Girls), The Wedding Video may look like just another in a long line of farcical British comedies about the chaos and hilarity surrounding a special (and more importantly formal) event. However, as always the proof is in the pudding and as it turns out it’s a rather charming and sweet little movie with quite a lot of genuine laughs and a dose of heart.
Though rather slight without a whole of staying power as any sort of all-time great British comedy, this is nonetheless pleasingly diverting viewing that sufficiently delivers on what it sets out to do. A lesser film would have constantly fallen back on crass humour to get by (something tells me the upcoming A Few Best Men may do exactly that) but thankfully that’s not the case here. The humour comes from an honest, believable place even if it sticks to a simple but rather rigid premise i.e. they have to keep that camera rolling any which way they can. It’s true that it sometimes feels like a set of comedy sketches stitched together into a narrative but the important thing is more of them work than don’t.
A lot of the success of The Wedding Video can be attributed to its cast. Points must particularly go to Rufus Hound and Lucy Punch as the brother obsessively filming everything he can about the big day and the nervous bride-to-be being told what to do by her controlling mother, respectively. Hound – mostly known up until now as a stalwart of British comedy panel shows and those “Top 100 Greatest…” TV countdowns – displays some real acting ability as not only a comedic actor but a dramatic one, too (who would have thought?!). And Punch has a fantastic comedic presence about her (which she also displayed in Bad Teacher and Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, to name but a couple), solidifying herself as a real British talent.
The rest of the cast are all solid, from Harriet Walter as Saskia’s mother hell bent on making her daughter’s wedding the best of the year (in one particularly funny scene she is riding a white horse which has been made up to look like a unicorn) and Michelle Gomez as the wedding planner on the edge of having some sort of (alcohol and pill-fuelled) breakdown, to Robert Webb playing very much the straight man to Hound’s more outlandish brother. Those familiar with Webb might be disappointed in that considering he’s always been the more out-there one when performing with his comedic partner David Mitchell but Webb plays his role here well.
Presented in the now tired found-footage format, The Wedding Video takes a potentially annoying premise and does its best to get everything it can out of it. There are contrivances to do with that, for instance another more professional camera crew is brought in at one point to film the wedding but is ultimately just so that we can see more of the goings-on than would otherwise make sense. Also, although it never enters any sort of ridiculous territory as many other similar films would it nonetheless resolves itself in a rather too convenient manner.
Ultimately it may be a tad on the predictable side and hampered by the confines of its found-footage style, The Wedding Video nevertheless manages to succeed thanks to a likeable cast, pleasant nature, a solid script which delivers the chuckles pretty consistently and a slew of the type of awkward public and familial situations we can all relate to one way or another. No classic but it does its job.