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Second Hand Wedding (2008)

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A small film with a big heart, SECOND HAND WEDDING is a bittersweet dramatic comedy set in the present, in a time when trademe and e-bay threaten the primeval urge for a firsthand crack at ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Vivien Bell ...
Gracie Clarefield
Jimmy Best ...
Sign Stealer
Charlie Bleakley ...
Martin Fisk
Geraldine Brophy ...
Jill Rose
Tina Cook ...
Peter Doile ...
Megan Edwards ...
Holly Ewens ...
Irene Flanagan ...
Rachel Forman ...
Young Jill
Sophie Hambleton ...
Kate Harcourt ...
Tanea Heke ...


A small film with a big heart, SECOND HAND WEDDING is a bittersweet dramatic comedy set in the present, in a time when trademe and e-bay threaten the primeval urge for a firsthand crack at the second-hand. Jill keeps the dream alive until she is forced to confront the habits of a lifetime and concede that no bargain is worth her daughter's happiness. Father of the bride, Brian, quips that Cheryl's upcoming wedding will be the first time anyone in the Rose family has given something away - and that's the crux of it. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's the only time the Rose family has ever given something away


Comedy | Drama


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Release Date:

7 May 2008 (New Zealand)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Not a Bad Way to Spend an Hour and a half
11 June 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After a week of watching depressing, dark, melodramatic films so inclined to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival, I welcomed a viewing of Second Hand Wedding— a lighthearted wedding comedy from New Zealand— with open arms. Not usually a fan of the genre myself, this romantic comedy seemed immediately promising as it followed not a young, beautiful couple of the verge of matrimony, but instead on the mother of a young, beautiful girl on the verge of matrimony. While not exactly anything novel to sound the alarms about, it was refreshing to see the portrait of a middle-aged woman and all her quirks on screen, as so often these types of characters are muddled sideshows in comedies of this genre.

The story follows Jill Rose, a middle-aged teacher who knows everything about getting the best bargains. With her friend Muffy by her side, the pair traverse the city every weekend in search of the perfect items at garage sales. The friends are a negotiating dream team: haggling prices and finding rare pieces among the rubbish. Brian, Jill's husband, puts up with his wife's habit and even jokes about the fact that the Rose family "never gives anything away!" When their daughter Cheryl decides to marry longtime boyfriend Stu, Cheryl is unable to tell her mother for the fear that she will make a mockery of her wedding by decorating it using all of her second hand items. She does, however, tell her dad but makes him swear to keep the engagement a secret until she can find a way to plan the wedding without the help of her mother. Cheryl even goes so far as to refuse to wear her engagement ring, lest her mother find out.

When Jill discovers that her daughter has been hiding the truth about her engagement, she loses heart in the sport of bargain hunting and detaches herself from her husband. Meanwhile, Cheryl and Stew— who had previously said they would pay for their wedding themselves— sign a contract for a wedding facility they cannot pay for. Cheryl then enlists the help of her mother to not only solve the monetary problems with the wedding but also to mend their relationship. Jill and Muffy hold a garage sale of their own to raise the money for Cheryl and Stew's wedding.

While this movie hosts an all New Zealand-based cast, the lack of star-power does not hurt the film in any way. Geraldine Brophy (Jill Rose) holds her own on the screen as both an agent of the film's comedy and its drama. Brophy's performance between the two genres is fluid and convincing despite the somewhat predictable themes of the story. With seemingly little effort, Brophy bounces between a quirky bargain-hunter on the prowl for the next great find and a mother whose only child has betrayed her on purpose.

Like any good wedding comedy, Second Hand Wedding garners its success from a formula that, though familiar, never seems too apparent. While it is following in the chiseled footsteps of romantic comedies that have come before, the film carries its own level of uniqueness that helps to break the mold of the typical. In this sense, the relatively unknown cast works in the film's favor as and having the focus on the parents instead of the young couple might attract a new audience to the genre.

That said, Second Hand Wedding never shirks its responsibility of being a light-hearted family comedy. Save for a mean-spirited fellow teacher at Jill's school and a lurking second-hand dealer that competes for valuables at the garage sales, the film has only one major obstacle: the secret Cheryl hides from her mother. Once the secret is exposed, there is only one direction the film can take: reconciliation. There is nothing new or inspiring about this film, but it does have its fair share of laughs all the while maintaining a level of reality: with heart attacks, lies, and disappointment.

While seemingly formulaic, the film never enters into an entirely predictable world. The characters retain a level of normalcy and humanity that allows them to be transient on screen without feeling empty or shallow. These characters do not have any personal agendas or crusades and the film boasts no major theme or message. It doesn't tiptoe around larger issues and does not attempt to tackle more than it can handle. The film is pure and simple, and while some might find that trite and overdone, it remains unique in a cheerful and uplifting space. A viewer might not grasp a larger meaning of life from this film, but it certainly is not offensive in any way. It accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish and tries for no more. What better than a film that knows its place in the cinema firmament? It's not trying to buy the cow when all it has money for is the milk.

As a member of the target market for this type of film, I'd say it was affective. I laughed when I was supposed to laugh, I cried when I was supposed to cry. I never once looked down at my watch or wished I were somewhere else. If asked about the film, I would recommend it, but probably only to my girlfriends or my mom. It's certainly not a film anyone will remember in 20 years (10 years, for that matter) but it is a blip on the radar of solid romantic comedies.

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