Slight hitch

The Wed­ding Party

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film - David Strat­ton

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

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