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Wedding Video, The (2003)

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 05/03/03 15:27:36

"Ignore the gimmick - this is a pretty funny flick."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

When you hear that an upcoming straight-to-video mockumentary stars a hefty chunk of the cast of MTV's Real World, the first tendency for most film reviewers would be to roll their eyes, laugh dismissively to themselves and walk off in the opposite direction. The 'reality cinema' fad is a totally foul beast that hopefully will never get much further than Jackass 2, but The Wedding Video, despite it's Empty-V origins (sorry, I meant to say MTV), actually manages to stands on its own and impress as both satire and straight up comedy. Those expecting a polished, high budget production won't get far past the opening credits, but if you give this thing a chance and get past the fact that it's an attempt by several Real World cast members to get famous... you'll dig it. Seriously.

And this is coming from a guy who hates everything reality TV stands for. I mean, if I found myself in the same room as the cast members of Jackass, I'd probably grab a shovel and smack every one of them in the face. Or at least I'd think about it. Truth be told they'd probably grab the shovel and smack themselves in the face before I could get near it, but I digress.

The Wedding Video will sneak up on you, but you need to give it a half hour of faith and forgiveness before it does. The first twenty minutes of this mockumentary about the preparation leading up to a doomed gay wedding is pretty rough to watch. It's slow, out of focus, and slowly meanders to the place where you understand what's going on, but once it hits its stride, there's plenty to enjoy.

Norman (Norman Korpi) is getting ready to wed his longtime beau, Sky. His parents want nothiing to do with the event, but they throw him ten grand in guilt money with which he decides to pay a videographer to travel the country to find his friends and make the ultimate wedding video. What we see is what the camera sees, and as the big day falls apart, what's on screen is a surprisingly good time.

Real Worlders Syrus, Heather B. and Julie star as the core of Norman's social circle, and the latter two are responsible for a large part of what makes this fun to watch. While Korpi's idea and storyline are very inventive and take the audience on turns they wouldn't expect, the characters that inhabit the story take it to the next level. Certainly this is far from your usual feature film production, and it would be easy to poke holes in the production if you were the cyncical type due to the low budget style and occasional gaps in content, but when all is said and done, The Wedding Video just doesn't suck enough to hammer.

The final few minutes of the film put the first eighty into a new perspective and reveal what Korpi thinks of the reality TV culture, as the hectic mess that we've watched unfold are displayed in a very different fashion in the final wrap-up, and to my way of thinking that's worthy of applause.

Sure, you could look at this as a cynical continuation of entertainment careers that weren't based on talent to begin with, or you could give a little cred to the fact that these people aren't doing Playboy pictorials, Celebrity Mole shows, bad music videos or softcore porn. What they have done is made a movie that's well worth an hour and a half of your time. Props.

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