In Britain, slightly bumbling and always tardy Charles (Hugh Grant) and his closest group of friends seem always to be attending weddings, but are never the bride nor groom, and as such, each, with the exception of gay couple Gareth (Simon Callow) and Matthew (John Hannah), is looking for love. At the wedding of their friends, Angus (Timothy Walker) and Laura (Sara Crowe), where Charles is acting as best man, Charles meets an American woman named Carrie (Andie MacDowell). For him, it's love at first sight. She too is attracted to him. Although they spend a memorable evening together, that's all it ends up being. Over three more successive weddings - some of the brides and grooms who are very near and dear to Charles' heart - and one unfortunate funeral, Charles runs into Carrie, but something always seems to prevent the two of them from getting together. He also runs into a plethora of old girlfriends, one of whom he may believe is really the one he was meant to end up with, ...Written by
The Mini used in this movie was the same Mini (or same registration) as the one in Mr. Bean (1990) episode eleven, "Back to School Mr. Bean", but in a different paint scheme. See more »
At the second wedding, Charles and Scarlet are depicted as sprinting to the church from their house. They live in Highbury and the church in the EC2 area of London - a distance of almost three miles which - whilst not impossible - is improbable. See more »
[wakes up and looks at his bedside clock]
Oh... *fuck*! Fuck!
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British Home Secretary Amber Rudd is credited as "Aristocracy Co-Ordinator" for the film as a way to be paid whilst working as an extra, who were otherwise mostly unpaid. See more »
The filmmakers were under contract to produce a version suitable for American TV. So instead of overdubbing, EVERY scene with harsh language - no matter how complex - was re-shot and less offensive words substituted. Most noticeable are the following (among others): 1) the beginning, where "bugger" has replaced "fuck" (and does so for the duration of the film); 2) George, the reader at the first wedding, is talking to Charles about having gone to school with the groom's brother, "Bufty" (which is slang for homosexual). His theatrical "Buggered me senseless" line has been toned down to "Beat me till my bottom turned blue"; and 3) the scene during Carrie's wedding, where "fuck-a-doodle-doo" has been replaced with Charles sighing and saying, "Well, that's that, then". There is much more alternate footage used. See more »
The effects of personal want, need, love and desire on the friendships of a circle of eclectic individuals is examined with a spot of humor in the witty, clever and oh-so-British comedy of love, romance and finding that special someone, `Four Weddings and a Funeral,' directed by Mike Newell. Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell head a delightful ensemble cast in this story of a group of long-time friends, all single, who watch and participate over a period of months as one by one those amongst them step up at last to the altar. Of them all, Charles (Grant) seems the most likely-- and at the same time the least likely-- to be next. Young, handsome and charismatic, Charles has no problem developing a relationship (he's had a number, in fact, as we learn in one particularly hilarious scene), but sustaining one is seemingly beyond his grasp. Until, at the wedding of one of his friends, he meets Carrie (MacDowell), an American, and she quickly enchants him. It is not the end of the story, however; for Charles, Carrie and the audience, it's only-- as they say-- the beginning.
Set in contemporary England, one of the aspects of this film that makes it so engaging is the propriety with which the humor is presented. Refreshingly subtle, there's more of Noel Coward than Tom Green or Rob Schneider to it; a matter of manners, mores and innuendo taking precedence over gross-out, in-your-face, shock schlock humor. And though Grant and MacDowell are at the forefront of the piece, Newell does an excellent job of developing all of the characters, succinctly supplying enough detail to each individual to give the film some depth and dimension, without having to actually go too deep. He never lets you forget that first and foremost, this is a comedy. There's some insight provided, but this is not an in-depth commentary on human nature, though there are some overtones and implications in that direction (Charles is always late to the weddings, for example; perhaps a subconscious denial of the impending nuptials?). Most importantly, the characterizations are rich, and the story is involving and presented with an even flow that allows you to effortlessly be swept away with it.
Certain actors make a career out of playing a variation of the same character in film after film, striving for that definitive portrayal. W.C. Fields played the hen-pecked husband in a number of films, finally perfecting that particular character in the person of Harold Bissonette in `It's A Gift.' For Hugh Grant, it's the retiring, somewhat self-conscious and stammering, eyelid fluttering charmer, of which he's done a variation in such films as `Sense and Sensibility,' `The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill, But Came Down A Mountain,' Notting Hill' and `Mickey Blue Eyes.' But Charles is his definitive portrayal of that character, the one in which he achieves the balance and honesty that makes the character so believable. It's a good bit of work by Grant, and definitely one of his most memorable performances.
Andie MacDowell, meanwhile, gives a rather composed performance as Carrie, the quiet American with a reserved bluntness who captivates Charles. MacDowell brings a sense of quietude to the role that is sensuously seductive, which lends credibility to Charles' infatuation with her. It's a role for which MacDowell is perfectly suited, as it allows her to play effectively to her naturally calm demeanor and exquisite beauty and femininity.
In a part that has to be an actor's dream, Simon Callow is absolutely exuberant as Gareth, one of the fixtures of Charles' circle of friends. More than just an effervescent character, Gareth is something of the conscience of the film, laughing away and laying bare any and all pretense or hypocrisy like a modern day flesh-and-blood Spirit of Christmas Present. It's a character that gives needed balance and perspective to the film, and he's wonderfully played by Callow.
Also turning in especially noteworthy performances are John Hannah as Matthew; Kristin Scott Thomas, who is quite alluring as Fiona; James Fleet as Tom, a character very reminiscent of his Hugo in the TV series `The Vicar of Dibley,' (and very effective here); Charlotte Coleman, memorable in the role of Scarlett; and Rowan Atkinson as the hapless Father Gerald.
Rounding out the supporting cast are David Bower (David), Timothy Walker (Angus), Sara Crowe (Laura), Anna Chancellor (Henrietta), Simon Kunz (John), David Haig (Bernard), Sophie Thompson (Lydia Jane) and Corin Redgrave (Hamish). There's enough twists and turns along the way to keep this film unpredictable, including one scene near the end that initially seems so mean-spirited that it may have you biting your fist and crying, `Oh, NO!' But, not to worry, Newell provides an instant resolution consistent with the rest of the film, and it not only works but gets a good laugh to boot. Entertaining, pleasant and funny, `Four Weddings and a Funeral' makes for a satisfying, feel-good cinematic experience that just seems so wonderfully civilized amid the seemingly endless rancor abounding in our world today. It's what's known as the magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.
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