Steve Thompson, a lovable anti-hero, is the youngest son in the gloriously flawed Thompson family. In a bid to save himself from financial ruin, Steve does the unthinkable and agrees to marry Ana, a Russian woman seeking residency in exchange for a huge sum of cash. Behind closed doors the deal is done, a secret wedding is arranged & in no time life will be back to normal, or so Steve thinks... Until a nosy family friend gets wind of the wedding plans and before sundown the whole Thompson family is gripped by wedding fever. Although Steve's family could use some constructive therapy for their own relationships, they rally together to support Steve in preparation for the world's most farcical wedding. What was once a private registry affair is now a fully-fledged spectacle as Steve's lie takes on a life of it's own, and he is more and more consumed by the fear that he has ruined his chance to be with his true love, Jacqui, forever. Written by
I saw 'The Wedding Party' last Saturday night and wasn't sure what to expect. By the end, I felt I'd finally seen an accomplished and very funny Australian sex comedy with one of the best casts I'd seen in years.
The central wedding plot involving Josh Lawson and Isabel Lucas is fun, but the real meat and potatoes is the fascinating and funny grid of family relationships that develop within the plot. It's here that we get some great performances, some genuine comic moments and some real insight into the 'under the sheets' psyche of middle Australia, who by the way, are going to love this film.
Adam Zwar and Nadine Garner are hilarious as they try to come to terms with her 'vulvadinia' condition (dysfunctional vaginal muscles). Zwar's ruffled, slightly puzzled, slightly petrified everyman is one of the film's gleaming highlights. Nadine too, is funny and complex as she nearly sabotages her own relationship due to her fears of childlessness.
On the other hand, a complex and intriguing plot involves Garner and Lawson's older brother, Colin, played by the wonderful and under-rated Geoff Paine. His story is one of deception and unfulfilled desire, and without giving away too much of a highly unique subplot, he is driven away from his wife (the wonderful Essie Davis) by his peculiar sexual needs and is gradually drawn into Melbourne's salacious subculture. Oddly, this, the most dramatic subplot in the film, also creates two of its biggest laughs.
The film is, in many respects a comedy, but the performances reek of truthfulness in a way that many of these actors are rarely allowed to exhibit - especially in their sanitized turns in Australian TV dramas. In this film, they clearly enjoy the unabashed honesty afforded to them by first time director Amanda Jane.
In the midst of this huge, impressive cast, Josh Lawson and Isabel Lucas are truly charismatic and funny - an oddball combination that works charmingly due to Isabel's turn as a Russian bride, failing to fully understand Josh's Woody Allen-esquire nervous humor. If all that wasn't enough, Steve Bisley as the head of the family steals the show with his hilariously arrogant posturing. Kestie Morassi may have found her perfect role also as Steve's (Lawson's) true love, Jacqui. She builds a very close bond with the audience as we ride her confusion and angst, waiting for the hyperactive Steve to sort out his shambolic life.
It's a unique film. The audience I saw it with, a packed house at Greater Union in Melbourne, were in hysterics one moment, deeply touched the next but it's style is so oddball it takes 10 minutes to orient yourself in the film's universe. Once you are there though, you'll realize you're hearing a terrific new voice in Australian cinema.
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