Emerging PicturesTony N' Tina's Wedding
has been a theatrical phenomenon ever since its off-Broadway premiere some two decades ago, but everything that is unique about it has been necessarily lost in this screen adaptation written and directed by Roger Paradiso
. Filmed in 2004 but only now getting a limited theatrical release -- the presence of a pre-Entourage Adrian Grenier
in the cast may have something to do with it -- this broad comedy will quickly find its way to the video bins.
The stage show is a partially improvised, interactive theater experience that plunges the audience right into the heart of a wedding between two young Italians from Queens. In an attempt to inject a similar cinematic stylization into the proceedings, the filmmaker begins by providing only POV shots from the perspectives of the unseen couple, then settles into a home-movie-style format, as filmed by a flamboyantly gay wedding videographer (Guillermo Diaz
Other than that technical conceit, the film plays out like a far too long (108 minutes) sketch featuring stereotypical characterizations and witless dialogue and situations. The director uses long, rambling takes to track the slapstick confrontations at the awesomely tacky Vinnie Black's Coliseum between the titular couple (Joey McIntyre
, Mila Kunis); their warring in-laws (Priscilla Lopez
, John Fiore
) who once dated in high school; the pot-smoking best man; the ex-boyfriend (Grenier) who drunkenly interrupts the proceedings; the black priest who has a tendency to lapse into Baptist cadences; and the uncle who pees into a fountain, among other caricatures.
Aiming for an Altmanesque quality, the film fails miserably, undercut by the relentless broadness of its source material. What can be great fun to experience live becomes unbearably repetitive here, with only the occasional clever flourish -- the pre-credits "slide show" depicting mock advertisements for various Long Island businesses is a scream -- to relieve the tedium.