A washed up singer is given a couple days to compose a chart-topping hit for an aspiring teen sensation. Though he's never written a decent lyric in his life, he sparks with an offbeat younger woman with a flair for words.
The film follows the fortunes of Charles and his friends as they wonder if they will ever find true love and marry. Charles thinks he's found "Miss Right" in Carrie, an American. This British subtle comedy revolves around Charlie, his friends and the four weddings and one funeral which they attend.Written by
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 »
OK but not worth the reputation it has surprisingly held with it over the past decade
Charles' habit of being late to pretty much everything he does and attends doesn't stop him being best man at a friend's wedding. While there he meets (and beds) the delightful American Carrie and finds himself quite attracted to her and regrets that she flies back to America the same day. At another wedding he meets her again but finds that she has gotten engaged to a rather rich Scottish man and is off the market although that doesn't stop her sleeping with Charles again. As her wedding approaches, Charles begins to realise that his marrying days are fast passing him by and the woman that he loves may never be his.
Despite this film "the best British film ever" it has been many years since I last saw it so I decided to watch it again. With a simple plot, a lot rests on the central "romance" and the characters and for me it doesn't totally work on this level. The group of friends are reasonably well written but they are very much a public school crowd that are rather aloof and therefore failed to engage me it spoke volumes to me that Scarlet was the only one I liked, partly perhaps because she was just a down to earth character. Without this emotional hook in the people, I never got that into it and just let it wash over me as a comedy. However on this level it didn't set the world on fire; sure it was amusing and had some very funny moments but not enough to be worth the reputation it has gained over the years.
The lack of characters are helped by what I consider to be two rather uninspiring performances from the lead. Grant does his usual "bumbling Englishman" stuff and back in 1994 it seemed fresh; now it appears to be pretty much all he has done and this cannot fail to colour it looking back. He isn't helped by a total lack of chemistry with MacDowell who, lets be honest, is pretty insipid and poor for most of the film. Her lines sound unnatural and I just didn't like her at all. The support characters are colourful enough; Callow is great value, Hannah is the only one that manages to bring some real feeling into the film, Coleman is cool and the others are nice. Smaller roles are also good from Walker, Bower and a funny cameo from Atkinson. None of them can really consistently lift the material but they are pretty good the problems are not with the support, it is with the leads.
Overall this is an OK film but it is certainly nothing more than that. The comedy is sporadic and it produces a few laughs but not enough often enough. The romance falls flat because the dialogue is clunky and the two leads have little chemistry a fact not helped by MacDowell's roundly poor performance. Worth a look if the genre appeals to you but not really worth the reputation that the media hype and shock of a profitable English film earned it at the time.
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