FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL

 

THE PLOT THUS FAR

Comedy-drama about a group of British friends… the title says the rest.

 

WHAT WE THOUGHT

Most of the action of the film takes place either at, or immediately before or after, one of the four church services mentioned in the title. The main character, Charles, is a well-to-do young man, probably educated at public school, and clearly a member of the professional classes, although we never actually discover what his job is. The film starts with a wedding at which Charles is best man to Angus, one of his old friends, and at which he meets Carrie, an attractive young American woman. The film then traces the ups and downs of the relationship of Charles and Carrie, via two more weddings (the second of which is Carrie’s own, after she and Charles have split up), the funeral of Gareth, another friend of Charles who suffers a heart attack while dancing at Carrie’s wedding, and one final marriage ceremony.

Set in contemporary England, one of the aspects of this film that makes it so engaging is the propriety with which the humor is presented. Refreshingly subtle, there’s more of Noel Coward than Tom Green or Rob Schneider to it; a matter of manners, mores and innuendo taking precedence over gross-out, in-your-face, shock schlock humor. And though Grant and MacDowell are at the forefront of the piece, Newell does an excellent job of developing all of the characters, succinctly supplying enough detail to each individual to give the film some depth and dimension, without having to actually go too deep. He never lets you forget that first and foremost, this is a comedy. There’s some insight provided, but this is not an in-depth commentary on human nature, though there are some overtones and implications in that direction (Charles is always late to the weddings, for example; perhaps a subconscious denial of the impending nuptials?). Most importantly, the characterizations are rich, and the story is involving and presented with an even flow that allows you to effortlessly be swept away with it.

The Blu-Ray comes with commentary, deleted scenes and featurettes ported over from the Deluxe Edition DVD. But, it continues this new streak of MGM maxing out the bitrates for their transfers. I love seeing such crystal clear clarity on these older flicks. It’s worth a purchase.

RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!

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