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Breakup at a Wedding (2013)

July 2, 2013

8/10 Cold Feet

Eloping has its perks.

Breakup at a Wedding is about a videographer who gets hired by a happy couple to film their big day. After years of filming nuptials, this guy’s seen it all, that is until these newlyweds-to-be turn into his self-proclaimed “master work.” See, to all of their friends and family, these two couldn’t be happier to be tying the knot. They’re all smiles, they complete each other, love is in the air. But behind closed doors, everything ain’t so peachy. With two divorced parents who rebounded with weirdos, this future bride starts having some serious second thoughts about the commitment she’s entering into. And with the expenses racking up by minute, this future groom tries to give his girl the day of her dreams without going flat broke in the process. It’s a nightmare really, but since everything’s already been paid for (or so he has her believe), they decided to keep up appearances…sort of. After a long back-and-forth, they ultimately decide to go through with the festivities and pretend like they’re getting married without actually signing any of the legal documentation. Hence the title. So as things go right and things go wrong, their feelings for one another start to change in turn.

All my life I never understood why anyone in their right mind would ever want to elope? It’s a wedding for chrissakes, it’s what you do! Money is no object, open bar for all! The mere notion of forgoing the biggest party you’ll ever throw in your life so that you can get married in secret was simply beyond me. Just think of the faces of your loved ones when you get back from Vegas, struggling to stifle that tinge of disappointment. “Why didn’t they invite me?,” they’ll wonder in that night as they cross your name from the Christmas card list. Why, indeed.

So when my father-in-law offered my fiancé and I a $10,000 check to elope two years ago, I didn’t know what to make of it. I thought the guy liked me! We played Parcheesi together, dammit! It didn’t occur to me that his two marriages counted for a whole lot more life experience than my zero marriages, because in my naive mind a wedding was in order. And so began one of the most stressful years of our lives…

Now, weddings aren’t exactly uncharted territory when it comes to comedies. Given the legend of Bridesmaids and all, I’m honestly surprised we haven’t had more of them as of late. At any rate, the bonus of having that grace period is that it gives Breakup a chance to do its thing without coming off like a coattail-rider. Not only that, but they’re wholly unique except for that whole wedding thing.

If there’s any comparison I could draw, the title alone brings Death at a Funeral to mind. Not being a big fan of the original or the remake, it was nice to find that the comparisons more or less start and end at the title. As for why that is, all signs point to the ways they’re approached.

I don’t know about you, but Death at a Funeral is ridiculous and I wish I meant that in a good way. As much as it tries to bring something genuine and heartwarming to the equation, it keeps shooting itself in the foot by upping the ante and bombarding us with one outrageous scenario after another. It’s a good idea in theory and it doesn’t all flounder (thank you, Alan Tudyk), but at the end of the day, we’re still left with the image Peter Dinklage having a brush with necrophilia and Danny Glover shitting on Tracy Morgan. There’s no coming back from that.

But even if one could forget about, you know, explosive diarrhea, the one thing those movies were was missing was a healthy dose of credibility. Lucky for us, it’s Breakup to the rescue.

Unlike Death at a Funeral, this here is a mockumentary that can only get so ridiculous before the audience calls “bullshit.” Not to say that it entirely avoids this pitfall, but these few lapses are forgivable enough given everything else that’s so consistently good. When it comes down to it, everyone and everything feels surprisingly natural here. It’s not like Exit Through the Gift Shop where you’re left wondering what’s real and what’s not, but even though we’re obviously dealing with paid actors, they sell it from beginning to end. As a result, it really ends up feeling like we’re watching a wedding video.

It sends up things that always happen at weddings without making them painfully obvious and much of the laughs come from people just acting like you’d expect them to act at an event like this. I don’t know, maybe it’s because most of the mockumentaries I see these days are out to scare the goo out of me, but it’s nice to see a comedy that makes the most out of this approach. It makes it look easy and it doesn’t feel forced. Not sure if the credit goes to the cast or the writers on this one though.

Oh, screw it, they both get credit! Been too long since we’ve had a comedy like this.

“Bullshit” warnings aside, it’s just a fun, endearing and chaotic party to be invited to. The strangers are familiar, so are the stresses, and these two crazy kids who are about to not get hitched are likable as all hell. Yeah, their “plan” is a bit hard to buy, but that’s alright, it’s easy to roll with the punches on this one. Nice kids, these two. Nice kids.

Alright, apologies for digressing like a mother on this one, but hey, it did a damn good job of capturing all those highs and lows. I’d even go so far as to say it hit home. It’s funny thinking back on my wedding because the memories that come to mind are the ones I’ll never forget. Everyone was there, it went off without a hitch, and in the course of those 24 hours, all those stresses from the year prior just melted away. I’m glad I didn’t elope, I wouldn’t trade that day for the world, but make no mistake, my kids can expect that check for ten large.

So having gone through the process, there was definitely an added appeal to Breakup at a Wedding. But even if I’d seen this at the height of my bachelorhood, I can’t imagine my feelings would be any different. It’s a very sweet, very funny movie about one of the happiest, craziest moments in a person’s life and it’s easily one of the better date movies I’ve come across in a while. It’s not the funniest movie I’ll see all year, but it’s darn funny for what it is. And after roping my wife into watching more crap than one woman should ever be roped into, you can consider this a recommendation for the ages. Heck of a lot better than I was expecting it to be and the missus would say the same.

Gotsta please the missus, yo.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ken Banta permalink
    July 3, 2013 6:42 pm

    Keep up the super reviewing, Aiden!

    • July 13, 2013 5:42 pm

      Ken! Thank you much and will do! Hope all is well on your end, say hey to Tony for me and come on up to Vermont one of these days, we miss you two!

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