With the much-anticipated John Wick 3 days away from movie screens (defending all puppies everywhere with ‘guns, lots of guns’), Sunshine Pictures and Two Camels Films thought it would be a good idea to release a weirdly odd but fun romantic comedy with Keanu Reeves and longtime bestie Winona Ryder entitled Destination Wedding.
Written and directed by Victor Levin, who has enjoyed credits for both writing and producing Mad Men episodes, and the successful 90’s television sitcom Mad About You in addition to various others, this film delves into the familial obligations and relationship closure that just about everyone faces at some point in their lives.
The movie centres around two characters, Frank (Keanu Reeves) and Lindsay (Winona Ryder), who are both, reluctantly and for different reasons, attending a destination wedding that neither wants to attend. Frank is the estranged brother of the groom and Lindsay is the ex-fiancé, who six years ago was dumped and has not gotten over the man even though it’s obvious he has moved on.
The couple keep getting thrown together in a multitude of unbearable situations that allow them to banter relentlessly at each other, and involved in a myriad of other embarrassing activities that only people throwing a wedding can get away with forcing family and friends to do. And while it seems to fit the Hollywood stereotypical coupling of ‘we hate each other so of course we will make a great couple’, there are moments in this film that are genuinely entertaining.
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Destination Wedding is unique in that the two main characters are truly the only ones in the film that viewers get to know, with everyone else staying in the background and adding to the story without actually being part of the story. It’s almost like a two person play with amazing scenery, with the film taking place in the gorgeous wine country of Paso Robles. The scenic shots of the wine country and area in between the segments of the wedding activities are so beautiful, it almost plays out like a commercial for the region.
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It takes a while for the movie to warm up and the characters to emerge, but once they do, the stichomythic dialogue keeps the movie going. They appear to be friends, helping each other through a series of awkward social situations that most people dread and desperately look for a companion to suffer alongside through them. However, they at one point decide to have sex (yes, just like that), which is even more awkward and bizarre because there is not any real passion and both characters banter all the way through it. While it is entertaining to watch, one has to wonder if anyone in Hollywood actually has sex, because it just seems so out of touch with the reality of how things really work in the bedroom.
Sadly, in the end it ends up being a typical misogynistic tale of will he or won’t he with the female waiting idly by pining for the man to choose her. One would think with all the ‘me too’ movement sweeping the landscape of entertainment, it would actually spill over to actual storytelling and trite relationship movies such as this would fall by the wayside.
Honestly, it almost seems like the two longtime friends decided to make a movie together because well, they can, since they are two big name powerhouses and obviously love working together. With that kind of clout, one can’t blame them, but this film will not reach the notoriety of any of the previous projects that catapulted them to the level of being able to attempt such a feat.
Overall, if you are either a fan of Ryder or Reeves this movie is enjoyable enough to sit through as a rental on a Saturday when you have nothing better to do. However, for avid moviegoers, you might want to save your money and see Keanu next week in John Wick 3 and Winona in the next season of Stranger Things coming this summer.