Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My First Wedding

My First Wedding is a study in contradictions. It’s a story of a shameless guy who pretends to be a priest to get a girl into bed, and it’s a sweet love story. It has a manic comedic energy but delivers some quiet truths about fears, relationships, and love. It’s a look at how we want the people we love to be honest with us, though not all lies are bad, and how all of us just want someone who loves us so completely they would be willing to do anything, no matter how outrageous, to win out hearts.

Vanessa (Rachael Leigh Cook) is about to be married to an extremely nice and wealthy man, (Paul Hopkins), but she has a problem. Unable to deal with the lustful thoughts of other men she ducks into a confessional and confesses to whom she thinks is a priest. The problem is the man she confesses to, Nick (Kenny Doughty), is only a carpenter. Let the farce commence.

Unable to let Vanessa go, Nick decides to pretend to be a priest thinking he might be able to get her into bed before the wedding in three days. Then a strange thing happens, Nick begins to truly fall for Vanessa.

As Nick gets more tangled into her life, he struggles with telling Vanessa who he really is and how to best admit his true feelings.

The movie runs on two things: Doughty’s manic comic timing, and Cook’s beauty. That may not be enough for some, but for me the film kept an awkward and off-beat tone that made it hard not to like. I’d compare it in tone and style to Notting Hill.

Sure there are plenty of groan moments, but the film manages to pull through them surprisingly well. The energy of the piece keeps the humor flowing as the characters continue to find themselves in sticky situations (like “Father” Nick be asked to perform Vanessa and Andre’s wedding).

It’s not a film for everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it. It runs a little long in places, but finds the right comedic touches to pull itself back on course whenever it starts to falter. The flimsy plot is held together by the film’s two stars who carry out some of the most contrived situations with genuine humor and warmth. It’s not a great film, but it’s a pleasant diversion that I think the right audience will enjoy.

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