Directed by Dean Craig
Starring Sam Claflin, Olivia Munn, Eleanor Tomlinson
The most brilliant thing Dean Craig did when he adapted the 2012 French comedy Plan de Table for an English-language remake was to give it a very specific title: Love Wedding Repeat. It’s all right there: a gentler comic take on second, third, fourth chances than Groundhog Day, or a romantic-comedy riff on the conceit of Edge of Tomorrow. Why Craig, as the writer and director of this overdone yet underbaked Netflix offering, didn’t follow his own advice is beyond me.
Instead, Craig squanders half of his film’s 100-minute running time getting into the weird specifics of his protagonist Jack (Sam Claflin) and the charmless crew that surrounds him. After a prologue where a voiceover (Penny Ryder) prattles on about chance and the random workings of the universe in Judi Dench-like cadences, we see Jack saying goodbye to Dina (Olivia Munn), the war correspondent he connected with during a weekend visit to his sister in Rome.
More recent reviews:
- The 3-Minute Review: ‘Bloodshot’ will give you some pleasurably nerdy thrill
- Review: Watching Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ is like watching a car crash into an oil tanker
- The 3-minute review: ‘Coffee & Kareem’ is a hilariously filthy buddy comedy
- The 3-minute review: ‘Unorthodox’ is a startlingly intimate portrait of religion as life-shaping force
Claflin and Munn gamely attempt to capture the exciting frisson of budding attraction, but while the actors emote how much they’d really, really like to hook up, Craig’s script doesn’t give us any indication about the particulars of their connection: What meet-cute brought them together? Why are they so drawn to one another? Why should we feel regret about the prospect of them not meeting ever again, especially since we know they will?
Alas, we get no answers to these questions before Jack is whisked away to the airport by a cock-blocking former schoolmate who just happens to be strolling in the same piazza.
After an opening credits montage featuring drone footage of Rome—achingly beautiful in this lockdown—we return to Jack, now trying to keep things moving smoothly at the wedding of his sister Hayley (Eleanor Tomlinson, most memorable as the innkeeper’s daughter in Loving Vincent) three years later. Jack has a lot on his plate: He has to corral his flighty actor-wannabe friend Bryan (Joel Fry), who has been tasked with being maid of honor (because a guy being given a traditionally female role is supposed to be funny!); contend with an angry ex (Frieda Pinto) whose current beau (Allan Mustafa) is obsessed with the size of Jack’s genitalia (because penis envy is supposed to be funny!); and slip a narcotic into the champagne of a coked-up wingnut named Marc (Jack Farthing) who is threatening to expose his one-time fling with Hayley (because cocaine addiction is supposed to be…funny?).
Add a car insurance salesman (Tim Key) whose balls are chafing under his kilt and a guest (Living With Yourself’s Aisling Bea) without a brain-to-mouth filter, and hilarity should ensue.
Well, in theory. None of these characters have any innate charm to them—most of them substitute actual comedy with mugging for the camera, and quite a few of them are downright annoying—and Claflin is so busy duplicating Hugh Grant’s brand of stuttering, easily flustered rom-com leading man, that you wish Craig would get on with the day-on-endless-repeat conceit already. Instead, the first version drags on and on, with a bunch of Italian kids pulling a switcheroo prank on some place cards serving as plot grease.
And then, when the first iteration concludes with a shocking development, the repeat part of Love Wedding Repeat decides to fast-forward through some alternative scenarios all centered around Jack’s table at the reception. Craig makes the head-scratching decision to gloss over the part of the movie where he could have demonstrated actual cleverness and orchestrated some twisty plot machinations, instead of belaboring his exposition.
Eventually, the movie settles onto another scenario where things might finally turn out right…if Jack can keep himself awake for the resolution. You might be facing the same challenge watching this cut-rate Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Love Wedding Repeat is currently streaming on Netflix. Photos from Netflix