…and I have some opinions. First, let me explain why I spent fourteen hours watching and rewatching movies that came out years ago. It was research, I swear. I’m currently writing a chick lit novel that centers around a wedding, and I wanted some inspiration. I thought watching all the classic “wedding” movies with a critical eye would help me understand how and why this genre functions the way it does. Also, watching movies in the name of research is a fantastic way to avoid actually writing things. Thus, I present my take on seven of the biggest wedding movies, ranked from best to worst:
My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding (2002) – It’s charming, it’s lovable, and there are more effective one-liners in this movie than the rest of the list combined. Nia Vardalos is phenomenally talented as an actor and writer, and the ensemble is full of stellar comedians. Part of me wants to see the second movie, but I’m constantly afraid of being disappointed by sequels. For me, My Big Fat Green Wedding is the perfect family-centric comedy, and it tops my list of wedding movies. 9.5/10
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) – A classic. The classic. The only movie to mention College Station, Texas (please don’t fact check me on that). It’s outrageous, it’s funny, and the music is phenomenal. In short, it’s everything I want this genre to be. Together, the writers and actors have created a compelling cast of characters – one woman who is hella annoying (can we bring hella back?), one woman who is a manipulative liar, and a man who blatantly puts his own career before his wife’s. And yet, by some kind of creative genius, I end up loving all of them. 9/10
Bridesmaids (2011) – I don’t usually like slapstick. But I guess when women do slapstick, I like it. The cast is hilarious. The writing is good. This movie is at its best when the entire ensemble is together (and at its worst when they let the guys talk for too long). The famous airplane scene is one of the best thing I’ve seen. While I don’t love the ending (show us the freaking wedding!), I would give Bridesmaids a commendable 8/10.
Meet the Parents (2000) – There’s a toilet-trained cat, a dinner prayer featuring Godspell, and lots of awkward family interactions. What’s not to love? For me, Meet the Parents is somewhat similar to Bridesmaids in that humor comes before any thematic sentimentality. However, I think the comedy in Meet the Parents is slightly less effective. Robert De Niro is consistently funny, but the writing of the female characters could have been better. 7/10
27 Dresses (2008) – 27 Dresses is a cookie-cutter, wedding-themed, romantic comedy. That’s what’s good about it. I like a movie that embraces a working formula and plays with tropes. However, when this film tries to establish some individuality, it falls a bit flat. For starters, the protagonist is intensely unlikable for the first 3/4 of the movie. That’s not how the genre works. Plus, the entire conflict (love interest/columnist secretly writing a degrading column), is 1) Super creepy and 2) A total rip-off of How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. 4/10
Bride Wars (2009) – This is the absolute worst this genre has to offer. (Other than Wedding Crashers – see below.) Apparently, every sexist stereotype about weddings is accurate, and only white people live in Manhattan. Side note: it took me 30 minutes before I realized that the guy who looked like Chris Pratt was actually Chris Pratt. I’m being generous when I give Bride Wars a 2/10.
Wedding Crashers (2005) – Rape is not funny. Neither is homophobia, racism, or misogyny, but I guess nobody told the creators of Wedding Crashers that. Bottom line, this movie is gross and extremely unfunny. -100/10