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Wedding Video, The


Stars: Rufus Hound, Robert Webb, Lucy Punch, Miriam Margolyes, Harriet Walter, Michelle Gomez, Cara Horgan, Felicity Dean, Julianne White, Clare King, Angus Barnett, Alexis Zegerman, Sophie Ellis

Director: Nigel Cole

Director Nigel Cole and screenwriter Tim Firth gave us Calendar Girls.

For my money this unpretentious but enjoyable comedy is rather more fun, since this time around the creators are not bound by homage to real life characters and situations, nor are they bound by inherent good taste in presenting their skewed story of a posh society wedding in Wilmslow in Cheshire, referred to as “The Beverly Hills of the UK”.

TV star Hound is a good choice for the freewheeling oaf chosen by his about-to-be-married brother Webb to be his best man for his wedding to Punch, who continues to prove herself to be a fine comic actress she is after holding her own against scenery-chewing Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher and, even more impressively, surviving the disaster that was Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.

Hound’s gift to the bride and groom is to be the video he films of the run-up to the nuptials and the wedding. This forms ‘found footage’ which, for once in recent films, really works, in – along with scenes filmed by a professional video maker brought in by bride’s mother Walter – creating the final film we see.

The first line “It all sounded so bloody simple” effectively sets the tone for the cheerful blend of comedy of embarrassment and out-and-out farce that follows, expertly played by a very well-chosen cast.

Hound, whose life becomes complicated when he realises he once knew and fancied Punch and Webb are very funny and (often disturbingly in the case of Hound) make a welcome comedy team

Walter is splendid as the snobbish mother of the bride, Margolyes is sharp and sour as Punch’s grandmother, recalling the heyday of Great British character actors (and what a pleasure it was not to have to watch her trapped in the money machine that was the ‘Harry Potter’ films).

Small roles, too, are neatly cast with Barnett’s vicar (“Are you both virgins?”) making a memorable appearance. Good gags, high and low, come thick and fast, there’s an all-too-credible drink-sodden stag night, and snobbish Cheshire society is given an amusing going over.

Add an hilarious wine-tasting, a neurotic wedding planner whose past as an air stewardess emerges to haunt her and make us laugh, and a comic tour around a stately home in search of a suitable wedding venue, plus delightfully daffy dialogue and a good time should be had by all looking for a good time at the cinema.

I found myself smiling almost all the time and much of it was laugh aloud funny too. These days too few British-made comedies manage to hit their target as entertainingly as this one and with such a pleasurable lack of intellectual-smooching pretentiousness.

(And Firth deserves a commendation for coming up with the memorable definition of 'compassion' as "Nature’s way of helping ugly men find partners").

Alan Frank

UK 2012. UK Distributor: Entertainment Film Distributors. Colour.
94 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 17 Aug 2012