19 July 2008 | DICK STEEL
A Nutshell Review: Wedding Daze
It seems that the success of the American Pie trilogy which starred Jason Biggs and spawned a franchise of spin off movies bearing the American Pie branding, had somewhat slapped an unfortunate tag on actor Biggs. Of all the movies to date that I recall him in, they inevitably revolve around teenagers, sex, or romantic comedies. He can't shake off this tag, and I will be curious to see him take a big leap out of this unwarranted comfort zone, unless of course these are roles that appeal to him, and pays his bills anyway. What makes it ideal for him in roles as these, is his average everyday man looks and attitude.
Isla Fisher on the other hand, I've got to admit, despite being in a similar boat as Biggs, has got that exuberant charm that I can't get enough of. I guess it was her infectious smile and laughter in The Wedding Crashers as the psycho babe Gloria stalking Vaughn's Jeremy that made me take notice, and her turn as the carefree, free-spirited April in Definitely, Maybe, had placed the movie as a contender for one of my favourites this year. Perhaps it is her relatively small frame that can always pass her off as a young adult, that she gets saddled with such roles, and again she repeats another rather conventional performance for Wedding Daze, but I'm not complaining.
Biggs stars as Anderson, a man in between jobs and who still cannot get over the death of his fiancé (who actually hasn't said yes), spending twice as long a duration to mourn her, than the time spent with her. On his good friend Ted's (Michael Weston) advice to go out there and meet people. In a spur of a moment during a dare, Anderson proposes to the waitress serving his table, and surprise, Katie (Fisher) says yes. But of course things are never smooth sailing, as the couple soon discovers what they should have discovered during courtship, thus putting numerous spins and surprises that made this comedy go way out of control in the last 30 minutes, reminiscent of some of 80s styled comedies in this film written and directed by Michael Ian Black.
Sometimes you wonder what it would like to just take that leap of faith and plunge into deep waters. Our forefathers probably did that with matchmaking being the requisite way in which to find a mate. They had no say and everything's arranged through parents and parental contacts when a suitable age is reached. While in this case it's not matchmaking, but you just wonder if it'll work out should two people eye each other across a crowded room, like who they see on the surface of course, and decide that's it, he/she's the one? It's a fantasy proposition, but one which becomes key in love at first sight stories. Either that, or the usual courtship route would likely be a journey where flaws surface, and you start to question if you could live with them. Nobody's perfect, but the former way already bound you to an institution, versus a fairly constant probe where you can opt out at any time.
While the supporting characters specifically are present to provide laughter, they do somehow epitomize different aspects of relationships. Katie's mom personifies the typical indecisive woman who flits toward who currently can provide her certain advantages, while her real dad (Joe Pantoliano) and stepdad provide some laughs with the jokes on the latter seemingly a little culturally insensitive at times. But political correctness usually goes out of the window these days (unlike those of old) as it is possibly the quickest way to elicit laughs from an audience, and even sexual deviant acts come courtesy of Anderson's parents. Supporting characters also involve the maligned fiancé of Katie's (but she didn't say yes too), and his finding of his soulmate, best friends of Katie who are into circus tricks, and the very perfect fiancé of Anderson, who would inspire Anderson to have one of the best, honest lines toward the end of the movie, no matter how sappy it sounded, but made a lot of sense.
You might think that you've seen a number of similar movies already like What Happens in Vegas and Just Married, but those seemed a little more polished than the raw, indie treatment that is Wedding Daze, where jokes fly rather fast and furious, employing a whole repertoire of methods to deliver its punch lines, from sight gags to my personal preferences of extreme wit in dialogue where you really have to be at attention to catch them all. It might not be a big budgeted movie, but its charm more compensates for everything else.