28 August 2011 | napierslogs
The romantic desperation of flawed characters with humour, love and understanding
Sam (Michael Angarano) is going to take his friend Marshall (Reece Thompson) on an adventure. It starts with Sam referring to liking a book in his "younger and more vulnerable years." Sam used to think it was written about him; Marshall thinks it is written about him. And if you already know which book they are referring to, the characteristics of Sam and Marshall, and the adventure they are about to go on, instantly fall into place.
Marshall doesn't yet know, but Sam is chasing after a girl. You probably already knew that because after all, that's what Gatsby was doing too. And because "Ceremony" is a romantic comedy. The girl is Zoe (Uma Thurman) and she's about to marry Whit because he's rich and handsome. Sam, although just as immature, is likely a bit more well-read than Gatsby, and he makes some hilarious and shrewd remarks about Whit and Zoe, their relationship, and about the relationship he would like to have with Zoe.
"Ceremony" is not actually like "The Great Gatsby", but the simple parallels that you can make amongst all the characters, illustrates how anyone would be able to find something to connect to in Fitzgerald's classic. And then afterwards, you will be able to find an extra layer of meaning in "Ceremony".
This is a romantic comedy, or coming-of-age journey, that is delightfully funny, whimsically quirky, but with a real sense of character. It is written and directed by Max Winkler, son of the Fonz, and he shows a natural ability coupled with a strong sense of humour and intellect. What makes me confident that he will become a great writer is when his characters discuss the art of writing characters all the while being completely oblivious to their own flaws.
Michael Angarano shows that he is becoming the star that he deserves to be (if this finds an audience) with his quick delivery of witty lines and his ability to sport a moustache and a burnt-orange suit throughout the entire movie without ever making a single joke feel tired. The younger Reese Thompson (playing the year-and-a-half older Marshall) seemed a bit out of his league, but then again he's playing a character who is a bit out of his league.
Although it takes place during a weekend wedding with a guy trying to win over a girl, it doesn't follow any standard romantic comedy trajectories. Marhsall observes those around him as he slowly matures, and Sam gets pretty much exactly what he deserves for his current level of maturity and understanding of human nature. "Ceremony" gives us that green light at the end of the dock to believe in, the orgastic future of filmmaking.