*I don't think this contains spoilers, but it is pretty involved and so may reveal aspects of the plot that you would rather have surprise you. If you'd rather go in to the film without preconceptions, don't read on.*
Apparently, Last Wedding received critical acclaim for its strong character development, its taut atmosphere, its remarkable dialogue, and its portrayal of Vancouver as Vancouver (a novel idea, considering the plethora of appalling Hollywood films that routinely convert the city into San Francisco, Los Angeles, or even Hong Kong). Despite good acting and attentive, often beautiful cinematography, however, Last Wedding is a hollow, almost nonsensical study of the banal dysfunction of urban social life. Did I mention that it's a comedy? The film is generally funny, especially in the first half, and pleasing in its visual familiarity (So very Vancouver, and there is a Winnipeg Jets cap, and a quintessential trip to the cabin to fish . . . ).
Character development is irritatingly imbalanced. This may be because the film was shot over three consecutive summers and so fell victim to the intermittent availability of actors and crew. Under these circumstances balance and continuity must be challenging to attain, and the film suffers as a result. Of the three couples represented, only one is explored enough to lead the audience across the rickety bridge between motivation and action. Sarah, played beautifully by Molly Parker, is an ambitious young architect who lands her dream job fresh out of university despite a slump in the market, and who must struggle with her idealistic spouse's resentment of both her success and her ethical and aesthetic perspectives regarding architecture. The scenes involving this couple are brilliantly executed, and appear (uniquely) topically rooted in Vancouver's identity. The other two couples are another story. One is ploddingly two-dimensional: Randy English Professor cheats on Luddite Librarian Live-In with Ambitious Sexpot Student. From a narrative perspective at the very least, this subplot climaxes prematurely. The third couple's story is utter nonsense, and seems to have been included only as an ill-advised attempt at comic relief. The wedding of the title is that of Noah and Zipporah (actually, the title is a reference to the wedding before theirs, but to theirs by inference. Don't ask, it seems like an arbitrary titling decision. No surprise, really). Noah works in waterproofing supplies and lives in Zipporah's obligatorily leaky condo. Vancouverites should know what I mean when I say this is dime-store irony. Zipporah is a beautiful, sensual fashion plate with delusions of becoming a country music icon. Nothing about them, from their tense initial interactions through their rushed wedding and the arbitrary deterioration of their sanity and their relationship, makes anything approaching sense. We laugh at Zipporah and Noah, not with them, and only because we're expected to.
In all these cases, the only dubious trait shared by the characters is their inability to interact functionally with one another. And why can't they? They are, at any given point, selfish, thick-witted, spiteful, and actually insane. I found empathy for the characters unattainable, as they lacked emotional depth and the motivations for their actions and statements were inadequately explored. This could in fact set up an interesting motive for the location of Last Wedding. The city of Vancouver is often characterized as beautiful but new and soulless, without history or personality - in Douglas Coupland's words, a city of glass (and maybe this isn't how Doug meant it, but it works). Perhaps that is the link between the setting and the characters in Last Wedding. Bruce Sweeney's characters are people of glass, by turns transparent, brittle, distant. Unfortunately, this representation is so haphazard and incongruous that it fails to make its purpose clear to the viewer. Perhaps it wasn't intended at all?
Last Wedding is an awkward, senseless collage of humour, depraved selfishness, and Vancouverism. Make of that what you will.