The Wedding Party
WEDDINGS, and the hectic preparations leading up to them, have proved almost sure-fire movie entertainment for quite some time now, one of the best examples being Robert Altman’s A Wedding (1978), but directors as diverse as Andrzej Wajda, Ang Lee, Claude Chabrol and Adam Shankman have explored the conflicts and tensions lurking just behind the scenes on this happiest of days.
For her first feature, The Wedding Party, Australian director Amanda Jane has followed on from this noble tradition with the added twist that the couple getting married in this scenario aren’t in love and, indeed, hardly know each other — she’s a Russian who needs a permanent visa to stay in this country while he’s a debt-ridden gambler who needs the cash she’s willing and able to pay.
I’m not sure our immigration system works quite like this but, leaving that aside, it’s not a bad idea for a comedy, though hardly new. In most scenarios along these lines (Peter Weir’s Green Card, for example) there’ll be some kind of attraction between the pair at the centre of the fake relationship. Not in this case, though.
Both Ana (Isabel Lucas) and Steve (Josh Lawson) are involved with other partners — Ana very much so with her ardent Russian boyfriend, Vlad (Nikolai Nikolaeff), who seems to have sorted out his immigration status. Steve is temporarily separated from Jacqui (Kestie Morassi), the girl he loves, and that’s partly why he’s in the mess he is. Steve runs his own business, but a gambling habit (he’s first seen losing money in a casino, so this is a cautionary tale if ever there was one) has made him desperate, hence his willingness to go through a marriage ceremony with Ana.
The problem is that his family doesn’t realise the marriage isn’t genuine. His father,
(MA15+) ★★★✩✩ Limited national release
(M) ★★★ National release
✩ the bombastic Roger (Steve Bisley), who has been undergoing a midlife crisis, has dumped Rose (Heather Mitchell), his wife of many years and mother of his three children, in favour of Cheryl (Rhonda Burchmore), a brassy club singer, so he’s delighted his son is marrying the sultry Ana — he can hardly keep his hands off her. Steve’s siblings aren’t so sure because they liked Jacqui and because it’s all