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Secret Bridesmaids' Business (2002)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 37 users  
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Chronicles the events of the day before a wedding, as disastrous secrets come out from both sides of the couple and a bizarre set of coincidences threaten to finish off the wedding forever.

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Title: Secret Bridesmaids' Business (TV Movie 2002)

Secret Bridesmaids' Business (TV Movie 2002) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
Helen Dallimore ...
...
James William Davis
Val Lehman ...
Colleen
...
Angela
Sacha Horler ...
Lucy Dean
...
Naomi Bartlet
Deidre Rubenstein ...
Ruth
Justin Batchelor ...
Young Bill
Amy Lockwood ...
Young Colleen
David McLean ...
Minister
Mark Guerin ...
Priest #1
Peter Nicholls ...
Priest #2
Graham Athmer ...
Groom
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Chronicles the events of the day before a wedding, as disastrous secrets come out from both sides of the couple and a bizarre set of coincidences threaten to finish off the wedding forever.

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9 June 2002 (Australia)  »

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User Reviews

will she or won't she?
2 September 2003 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This made-for-TV movie version of Elizabeth Coleman's successful Australian stageplay is a disaster. Director Lynn-Maree Danzey turns Coleman's dialogue into blather and strangles the viewer with claustrophobic camera-work and close-ups. Not even the performers can redeem it.

The first and biggest mistake was to hire Danzey, someone who has no experience in directing feature films. Work for the theater is devised for distance, and a play with the fussiness and custardy dramatics of Coleman's requires that the camera keep away from the actors. Danzey occasionally succeeds in this respect with Val Lehman as the mother of the bride, so that Lehman comes across as funny. However, most of the time Danzey pushes the camera in too close, and the treatment reads as dull banal soap opera. Poor Helen Dallimore as the bride has an aria of anger totally undermined by Danzey, who adds a circling camera, and Dallimore's charm wears thin fast. For a woman who is written as 33, she behaves like a teenager. Danzey also uses a video camera POV to no great benefit, and an aerial view of three women in a spa seems designed for us to get a glimpse of naked breasts.

Coleman's play includes theatrical contrivances, such as an expectant telephone call on the subject of an alleged affair by the groom given false alarms, and fantasy scenes. One of the latter provides the play's only wit, when the groom imagines having to promise to "be a psychic, to instinctively guess what she really wants, even if she tells you something entirely different, and prove your love by anticipating all her needs before they even occur to her". Coleman's reactionary universe has marriage as the ideal for any woman, with no mention of career or children for that matter, where the idea of lesbianism is shocking, and where the other woman in the affair is repeatedly humiliated. Danzey spitefully presents this actress unflatteringly, perhaps since she is the only female member of the cast who doesn't appear to be overweight.

When the groom appears to confront the bride over the allegation, the other characters conveniently disappear, but the shift of tone and Danzey's change to darker lighting, makes us feel as if these scenes are from a totally new play. Matters aren't helped in that the groom's speech is all clichés (one could hardly defend this by accepting Coleman as a feminist), or that later we get the tiresome argument against the mother that the wedding is all for her and not the bride. Coleman also uses the standard drinking loosening inhibitions, secrets revealed, and a game of truth and dare resulting in such language as "penus butter sandwich" and "vagina-mite". However, the worst swear word to be heard is "a**hole", perhaps the missing "f" word an indication of the Melbournian origins of the piece.

All though she disappears for the bulk of the "second act", to return for the end, Sacha Horler as a friend of the bride who has joined her in a hotel room on the eve of the wedding day, steals every scene, managing to overcome the disparity between her body size and her character's vamp reputation. As soon as I tired of Dallimore I began imagining Horler playing the bride, though that would have offset the ethnic coloring of the couple as is.

That the end leaves an ambiguous resolution is a minor point when by this time, presuming one has stuck with it, our caring is long gone. I know that if I hadn't intended on writing about the film, I would have abandoned it early on.


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