Inside the charm and gentle wit of “The Wedding Video” is an Ira Levin satire trying to claw its way out. Set in the WAG safe-haven of Cheshire, Nigel Cole’s movie has all the right credentials to be a British version of “The Stepford Wives” or “Rosemary’s Baby” as it documents the run-up to the wedding of upwardly mobile couple Tim and Saskia.
Cole even employs the “found footage” device so commonly associated with horror movies when the well-travelled and fun-loving Raif decides to document the big day as a wedding present for his straight-laced brother Tim.
Poor Tim is slowly being assimilated into the gauche lifestyle of his mother-in-law-elect Alex like a Prada Pod Person from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” She’s one of those nouveau riche harridans who stalk the self-serving charity functions and usurp the weddings of her rival’s daughter, a prime target to make “The Wedding Video” a savage riposte to Richard Curtisland. What secrets lurk in Alex’s dark past? What horrors await Tim in her MTV mansion? What ulterior motives does she have in changing the wedding venue at the last minute to a legendary stately home?
In these cynical times, it’s tempting to be disappointed that “The Wedding Video” doesn’t descend into a “Society” style orgy. Rather than a biting satire on consumerism Cole has a gentle prod at the absurdity of the celebrity weddings, those Frankenstein’s Monsters made so popular by the Beckhams and the Katie Price/Peter Andre marriage. As much as we might want her to be at the centre of a coven of witches disguised as Mercedes dealers, Alex is just too damn nice to be fully lambasted.
Through Raif’s video we are treated to a gentle comedy of manners and class as Tim and Saskia try to negotiate their way around those weird and wonderful hidden extras that might get your wedding covered by the “In Cheshire” magazine. What could have easily been a gross out comedy to rival “Bridesmaids” is actually an engrossing and at times touching trawl through the pitfalls of family, unicorns and birds of prey.
As the wedding draws closer, the couple begin to unravel but is this a case of the jitters or something more deep seated? Former wild child Saskia enjoys the company of laid back Raif and his old pal Roger as they revert back to their school kid mentalities–cheap booze, getting stoned and singing songs about orgasms. Tim, on the other hand, becomes more and more uptight swimming in the bosom of Alex’s crazed ideas rather than rejecting them out of hand.
“The Wedding Video” won’t have you rolling around on the floor in stitches but its strong cast will certainly have you smirking. Lucy Punch and Robert Webb are suitably engaging as Saskia and Tim, Harriet Walter treats her Alex like a Daily Mail version of Joan Collins, Julianne White nearly steals the show with her excellent turn as wedding planner Tara Devlin and Matt Berry as Roger has his moment at the stag do. What is a revelation is TV star Rufus Hound as Raif–funny, affectionate, and totally charming. On this evidence his career lies on the big screen rather than the small. Cheers.