Netflix UK film review: Love Wedding Repeat
James R | On 23, May 2020
Director: Dean Craig
Cast: Sam Claflin, Olivia Munn, Freida Pinto, Eleanor Tomlinson, Tim Key, Aisling Bea
Watch Love Wedding Repeat online in the UK: Netflix UK
“All it takes is just one moment of ill fortune for all our hopes and dreams to go right down the sh*tter.” Those are the words of someone who sounds an awful lot like Judi Dench at the start of Love Wedding Repeat, Netflix’s playful romantic comedy. Except, truth be told, it’s not Judi Dench: it’s just a woman (Penny Ryder) who sounds an awful lot like her. That pale imitation of the real thing sets the bar for the whole movie, which looks and sounds like a lot of rom-coms you’ve seen before, but falls disappointingly far short of the mark.
Sam Claflin stars as Jack, the brother of Hayley (Eleanor Tomlinson), who’s getting married Rome. Giving her away to her new partner, he’s determined for her day to be as perfect as possible, sitting the guests apart who might fall out, holding back Hayley’s ex, who’s turned up unannounced to win her back, and facing his own ex, Amanda (Freida Pinto).
Add in some sedatives, an actor trying to impress a famous director and a bunch of other snafus, the result is a stage primed for hilarious force. Except, well, the hilarity never does ensue, as Dean Craig’s script never quite manages to turn his set-up into well-executed jokes. In time-honoured fashion, it’s the supporting characters who walk away with the show, as Aisling Bea and Tim Key steal every scene they’re in as clingy friend Rebecca and the socially awkward Sidney, neither able to stop talking or appear anything like mature grown-ups.
But the rest of the cast are unfortunately hamstrung by the plot, which is determined to walk everyone through predictable plot beats and set pieces that aren’t organic or surprising enough to engage – Craig’s Death at a Funeral, which was remade for American audiences, felt fresher and more inventive in its choreographed chaos.
The film’s biggest crime, though, is that its central premise is sorely under-used. What is at first teased as a time-shifting meta-rom-com emerges as something far more straightforward, with the Dench-alike narrator merely talking us through the logic of luck and showing us different permutations of events, rather than any characters actively getting to control what might get replayed from a different angle or what might have sparked a different ending. It’s an oddly detached device that leaves Love Wedding Repeat feeling sadly un-involving – and you wondering how things might have turned out differently.
Love Wedding Repeat is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.