| Despite revolving around a happy occasion, this latest offering from director Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs") is a real downer. The title is a bit misleading because the movie is really about Rachel’s younger sister Kym (Anne Hathaway).
Kym is a walking time bomb ready to throw a tantrum at the drop of a hat. She is a neurotic chain-smoker and recovering drug addict. She has been in and out of institutions for the past 10 years. She is given a temporary release from her latest stint in a rehab program to return home to be with her dysfunctional family for the festivities leading up to her sister’s nuptials.
A pregnant Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt from “Mad Men”) is marrying an African-American man. Kym is constantly being monitored by their father (Bill Irwin). Kym lives in a world of mistrust and paranoia. With her nervous laughter and cynical tongue, Kym does everything to steal the spotlight away from Rachel’s big day. This low-budget, dramatic train wreck seems totally unscripted.
The constantly moving hand-held camera jiggles and shakes. It simulates the turbulence from a bumpy airline flight. There are several dull and boring stretches with bland characters not worth caring about. The speeches and toasts around the dinner table seem to be made up on the spot ad- libs.
The pervasive background music is irritating and sounds worse than chalk on a blackboard. The movie resorts to a dishwasher loading contest for excitement. It even stoops low by showing Hathaway going to the bathroom to produce a urine specimen for drug testing. Hathaway wears no makeup while mugging for the camera in an unglamorous role.
There are several Oscar-worthy moments for her to impress Academy Award voters. Her character suffers from survivor guilt caused by a traumatic babysitting experience.
The movie is unsettling and uncomfortable to sit through. It could not end soon enough for me.
The movie provides a heavy dose of reality portraying life as complicated, painful and messy. Screenwriter Jenny Lumet (daughter of acclaimed director Sidney Lumet) rides the coattails of her famous family name in this debut. She needs to go back to film school for some refresher courses in script writing.
Debra Winger makes a brief appearance playing Rachel and Kym’s estranged mother. She has a key confrontational scene with Hathaway. A better alternative than this poorly edited, homemade wedding video is to rent “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” Now playing exclusively at the Leawood, AMC Studio 30 and Cinemark Palace on the Plaza.
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"