Brief synopsis: After a near-miss, romantic weekend, Jack (Sam Claflin), is given another chance to reconnect with the woman of his dreams, Dina (Olivia Munn) at his sister’s romantic Italian wedding. Unfortunately, various circumstances conspire to make his efforts to reconnect with Dina challenging.
Is it any good?: Ever since Richard Curtis’ Four Wedding and a Funeral (1994), many a filmmaker has tried to repeat the same formula of love and wedding farce. Love. Wedding. Repeat starts promisingly and quickly deteriorates into puerile farce and jokes that go on too long. Disappointing.
Spoiler territory: Jack and Dina spend a brief weekend getting to know one another after his sister, Hayley (Eleanor Tomlinson), introduces them knowing he is going to be in Afghanistan the same time as she is. As Jack tries to get up the courage to asks her out before he has to fly back home. Unfortunately, as he is about to talk to her, an old friend interrupts him and he misses his opportunity.
Three years later, Hayley is getting married in Italy and, in the absence of their parents, Jack is walking his sister down the aisle. The maid-of-honour – or man-of-honour – is Bryan (Joel Fry), a wannabe actor who, as well as being Hayley’s maid/man, hopes to meet a famous Italian director who is attending the wedding.
Other notables attending the wedding are family friends, boring Sidney (Tim Key), mildly hyper Rebecca (Aisling Bea), Jack’s ex-girlfriend, Amanda (Freda Pinto), with her new boyfriend, Chaz (Allan Mustafa) and, much to Jack’s surprise as he had been told that she could not make it, Dina.
Sidney, for some reason known only to him, decides to wear a kilt to the wedding, even though he is not Scottish and has no connection to Scotland, and spends the day adjusting himself awkwardly. Seeing Rebecca, Bryan is sent into a panic as she always tends to cling to him.
Jack is worried about seeing his ex as they parted on bad terms. Chaz is insecure about his manhood and spends the day challenging a less than amused Amanda, comparing himself to her past boyfriends. He also wears a suit that makes him look like he is in a cabaret. The wedding goes off without a hitch and the guests mingle in the ground of the villa the couple has gotten married in.
Sidney spots Dina and makes a beeline for her. He dominates the conversation, roping her into being his wedding buddy for the day. He leaves her to go and get some drinks. As Jack and Bryan chat, Rebecca comes over. Jack sees Dina and leaves a desperate Bryan to go and see her. Hayley and her new husband, Roberto (Tiziano Caputo), are moving amongst the guest when Hayley spots a drugged up Marc (Jack Farthing) staggering through the wedding guest.
She goes and finds her brother, interrupting his long overdue catch up with Dina, and tells him he needs to handle Marc, a man they both know from school. Jack has no idea how he is meant to subdue him. Hayley, who had been taking sleep medication in the run-up to the wedding, tells him to put some of it in Marc’s glass.
Reluctantly, Jack puts the medication into the glass before the guests go to the tables. Before the guests are seated, children at the wedding run around and change a lot of the seat placements. At the table, Jack ends up sitting next to his ex with Dina next to Sidney. Sidney believes that the seating is destiny and proceeds to bore her.
Bryan, who is meant to give a speech, has drunk the medication due to the swapping of the seating plans. Getting increasingly sleepy, he decides he needs to speak with the Italian director. He falls asleep in front of him. Jack tries to rescue Dina from Sidney by taking her to the bar but Sidney follows them.
Jack is forced to tell Sidney to make himself scarce. Hayley is still in a panic when she sees that not only is Marc still around but he is fully awake. Chaz confronts Jack. Jack tells him that he is totally over Amanda. Chaz goes into a rant about penis size. Perturbed, Jack returns to Dina but then spots the coked-up Marc and goes to speak to him. Marc tells them that he and Hayley slept together three weeks before. Jack puts Marc in a wardrobe.
Hayley confesses to sleeping with Marc on a drunken night as she felt vulnerable but she does not want to be with him. An extremely sleepy Bryan makes an embarrassing speech and destroys the wedding cake. Dina gets a call from work and has to leave. Jack goes after her, wanting to talk before she leaves. Amanda interrupts their chat.
Jack says that their relationship was miserable. Amanda head-butts him. Marc gets let out of the wardrobe and goes on stage and tells all in attendance that he and Hayley slept together. Roberto asks if it is true. He tells her that he cannot be with her. As they talk, Roberto falls over a balcony.
The story rewinds. The children exchange place settings in multiple scenarios with various outcomes. The final outcome sees Jack accidentally taking the sedative. The upshot of that is he ends up falling asleep as Dina tells him a story about her mother dying of cancer. Amanda tells him that Chaz wants to marry her but slaps him when he congratulates her. Bryan and Rebecca get together after he asks her why she likes him.
Jack intercepts Marc and talks sense into him regarding his obsession with Hayley. Sidney asks Jack for advice with women. Bryan gives a moving speech. Marc gets on the mic and congratulates Hayley and Roberto. Chaz splits up with Amanda. Sidney meets a lovely Italian woman, Cristina (Francesca Rocco).
Jack asks Dina if she felt the same way he did when they met in Afghanistan for a brief time. She says that she did but they missed their moment. A despondent Jack returns to the wedding and speaks to Bryan, Dina having left because of a work call. Their brief conversation persuades Jack to go after Dina. They kiss. The end.
Love. Wedding. Repeat is a collection of sketches taken too far. The overall story of the wedding is just a backdrop for some cliched and farcical humour that, admittedly, is initially funny but quickly becomes tiresome to the point of embarrassing. The humour is not even knowingly embarrassing in the way of the humour of Sacha Baron Cohen.
The acting is perfectly serviceable and everybody tries gamely to make the film work. It is shot in a beautiful location and is well-edited, bumping along at a good pace through its one hundred minute runtime. Written and directed by Dean Craig, based on the French film Plan de Table (2012), the film mostly suffers from not knowing when to let a joke end.
Mustafa’s Chaz spends the majority of the film speaking to absolute strangers about the size of his penis. Haha. That is not the only penis-related ‘humour’, with Key’s Sidney, telling anyone who will listen, how uncomfortable his kilt is.
Claflin’s Jack is required to channel his best Hugh Grant impression, bumbling when straight talk would have made more sense and Fry’s Bryan is more of a caricature than a person. The Italians have little to do in the film – it is a Richard Curtis rip- off, after all, English only, thank you – and just make up the scenery.
Munn, who I have not seen in anything worthy of her talents since Newsroom, is just in the film for her undoubted beauty. Any number of attractive actresses could have filled her role and had the same impact.
With a VoiceOver from Penny Ryder, who sets the scene for the fateful day and speaks of destiny, chance and options, the film has all the elements of a promising comedy badly executed. There is, ever since Four Weddings, an expectation from a wedding comedy, especially a British wedding comedy, that Love. Wedding. Repeat – a stupid title – just does not meet.
It is only mildly amusing, the characters are not engaging enough and a lot of the humour is not only overdone but, at times, misplaced. Love. Wedding. Repeat is not an unwatchable mess but it is not as good as it should or could have been. Not one to repeat.