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Rich In Story and Characters
jhclues29 December 2001
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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wonderfully funny movie
jeffvaughn12 June 2006
I am viewing the movie for my fifth time since its release. I just love this movie and laugh almost endless throughout the movie. My favorite parts of this movie are not the "Hollywood A List" actors but the not so well known actors. They are incredibly funny and give wonderful performances. I could easily write a bit about each actor in this movie but time does not permit. These are some very talented people. As a fan of British humor, I am especially pleased with the incredible writing along with the acting. Not to mention some of the scenery. If someone is feeling low, this is a great movie to watch to lift the spirits. I highly recommend this movie to anyone wanting or needing a good laugh.
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Droll romantic comedy showcases Hugh Grant in his best role.
jckruize28 February 2002
Richard Curtis, author of Rowan Atkinson's sublime Blackadder TV series, here contributes a romantic comedy screenplay which is actually romantic AND actually funny. American hacks should take note: it's possible to write comedy based on the battle of the sexes that doesn't rely on misogyny and gross-out humor.

Hugh Grant at his most charming leads a talented ensemble cast in this warm-hearted tale of unrequited and requited love that so impressed stodgy Academy voters it actually got a Best Picture nomination. I won't quibble with those who say it was undeserving -- although some of the other user comments are ridiculously hostile to such a lightweight romp -- but I will defend its makers for crafting a genuine crowd-pleaser that relies on story, character and witty dialogue for its appeal.

The essence of good romantic comedy is what Curtis and director Mike Newell capture particularly well in this film (more effectively than Curtis' other Grant hit, NOTTING HILL) and it's this: love makes us do stupid things. We err in choice, we blunder in execution, we make utter fools of ourselves, and yet we don't give up. We still strive. We still search for that perfect someone. And the glory is -- sometimes we get lucky.

Going along on this quest with Grant and friends is as enjoyable an entertainment as you're lucky to find in your local DVD section.
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A British Romantic Comedy as Good as Hollywood at its Best
JamesHitchcock15 July 2005
Richard Curtis's films have sometimes been criticised for giving a too cosy, conservative view of British society. "Four Weddings and a Funeral" seems to take place in an England of eternal summer, a land which consists almost entirely of green and pleasant countryside and the more exclusive districts of London and which is populated solely by members of the upper and upper-middle classes. The script does cross the border into an equally idealised Scotland of mists, tartans and Highland flings, but even these scenes were actually shot in Surrey. Such criticism contains an element of truth, but is largely irrelevant when it comes to assessing the merits of the film because it ignores the fact that most romantic comedies (in other media as well as in the cinema) are set against a relatively narrow background in terms of social class, often enabling the writer to satirise the manners of that class. Jane Austin, for example, the most successful writer of romantic comedy in nineteenth-century England, set all her works among the wealthy landed gentry or prosperous bourgeoisie of the day.

Most of the action of the film takes place either at, or immediately before or after, one of the four church services mentioned in the title. The main character, Charles, is a well-to-do young man, probably educated at public school, and clearly a member of the professional classes, although we never actually discover what his job is. The film starts with a wedding at which Charles is best man to Angus, one of his old friends, and at which he meets Carrie, an attractive young American woman. The film then traces the ups and downs of the relationship of Charles and Carrie, via two more weddings (the second of which is Carrie's own, after she and Charles have split up), the funeral of Gareth, another friend of Charles who suffers a heart attack while dancing at Carrie's wedding, and one final marriage ceremony.

Hugh Grant, as Charles, gives a very good performance. Grant has a relatively narrow range as an actor, but he is capable of some excellent work within that range. There are some subtle differences between Charles and William, the character Grant played in "Notting Hill", another romantic comedy written by Curtis. William is a shy young man who uses ironic, self-deprecating humour as a cover for his shyness and lack of self-confidence. He is very much in love with Anna, that film's heroine, but is afraid to declare his love because he cannot believe that a beautiful and successful film star would take any interest in the owner of a small bookshop. Charles, by contrast, is less shy than William and enjoys more success with women. His humour is also ironic, but for a different reason. He is afraid of his emotions and of commitment and uses irony as a means of distancing himself from life and of avoiding having to commit himself.

The film can be seen as the story of Charles's journey to emotional maturity. He has had a number of brief affairs, all of which have petered out precisely because he is afraid of his emotions. His relationship with Carrie initially goes the same way and she marries a richer and older man. The change in Charles's character is partly due to the fact that he sees his carefree bachelor world disappearing as most of his friends get married, but the event which seems to have the greatest effect on him is Gareth's funeral, at which a moving eulogy is read by Matthew, Gareth's gay partner, touchingly played by John Hannah. Charles realises the strength of the love that Gareth and Matthew shared for one another and comes to appreciate that such a relationship is something to be valued.

Grant does well to make Charles a sympathetic figure, despite his having many failings quite apart from his ironic distancing of himself from the world. He is clumsy, accident-prone (he manages to lose the ring at Angus's wedding), much given to profane language and can be appallingly tactless, especially about his former girlfriends. The other main character, Carrie, can perhaps be seen as a female Charles, someone who is on the same journey as him but who has travelled slightly further. (It is significant that her name is short for Caroline, the feminine equivalent of the name Charles). She freely admits to having had over thirty previous lovers, but she is the first to want to bring emotional commitment to their relationship. Am I, incidentally, the only one to have liked Andie MacDowell's performance?- she has come in for a lot of criticism, in my view undeserved, on this board.

The film is, however, more than simply a study of relationships- it is also very funny with some superb lines. Hugh Grant can be very amusing, and there was a great cameo from Rowan Atkinson as a bumbling, nervous trainee priest who keeps fluffing his lines during one of the weddings. ("Awful wedded wife", or "Holy Goat" for "Holy Ghost"). I also liked David Bower as Charles's deaf brother David, the late Charlotte Coleman as his impudent younger sister Scarlett and Anna Chancellor as his ex-girlfriend Henrietta (also known as Duckface), whose embarrassing emotional incontinence perhaps explains why Charles is so keen to distance himself from his feelings. I was less impressed by Simon Callow as Gareth, loud, extrovert and excessively hearty (like most characters Callow plays).

To sum up, this was a very good film indeed; proof that the British cinema can produce romantic comedies as good as Hollywood at its best. 8/10
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Romantic Comedy Done Right
slayerbecca8 November 2004
Four Weddings and a Funeral is a wonderful movie. Romantic comedies often throw people off because they tend to be cheesy or depressingly sugar-coated. However, this is a truly wonderful movie.

First off, the cast is terrific. They play off of each other wonderfully and it makes for a delightful atmosphere. Just take the lead, Hugh Grant, whose character doesn't appear fit the stereotypical lead at all. The humor is very witty, and the jokes are guaranteed to make you laugh even after you've seen the movie a dozen times.

Situations in the movie are set up to be played out perfectly. In one scene Hugh Grant is at a wedding and is seated with all of his ex-girlfriends. The scene is set up for utter humiliation.

Even with the quick-witted characters, and all the weddings, it wouldn't be a movie without that touch of drama that for many might just get a tear out of them.

Hands down all around great movie to fit most every occasion.
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Quirky Characters Shine in Touching, Funny, Romantic Comedy
dglink27 March 2006
The lead character in this film, Charles, says at one point that, while his friends were busily obsessed with marriage, two members of their group were, for all intents and purposes, married to each other. In those days before Britain had a civil partnership law, he was referring to Gareth and Matthew, played by Simon Callow and John Hannah. "Four Weddings and a Funeral" was among the first major films to feature a gay couple without any comment, moralizing, or stereotyping. Considering all of the absurd controversy generated by "Brokeback Mountain," this English comedy may be considered subversive in some quarters, because it portrays the union between the two men to be as loving and enduring as any between the men and a women in the same film. The two gay men are among a circle of idiosyncratic friends that orbit around Charles, who suffers from relationship avoidance. Played engagingly by Hugh Grant, Charles attends the weddings of others, but manages to avoid any commitment of his own. One of the film's funniest scenes involves Charles at a wedding reception where he has been seated at a table with several of his ex-girlfriends. With that one scene, screenwriter Richard Curtis wittily fleshes out Charles's character as each woman remarks on her past experience. The episodic comedy is broken down literally into the five events of the title, and the core characters attend these events as spectators who each hope for a wedding of their own. Many of the lines and situations are extremely funny. Rowan Atkinson steals his brief time as a novice preacher who blesses a couple "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the holy goat." Although Hugh Grant plays Charles as, well, Hugh Grant, several other actors create some fine comic turns. The ravishing Kristin Scott Thomas is touching as the lonely Fiona, and her timing is impeccable when she recovers from an indelicate question with a snappy comeback. Of course, why anyone as beautiful as Kristin Scott Thomas should be unwillingly single is a minor casting flaw in the film. Unfortunately, Andie MacDowell plays the American, Carrie, and, although she looks great in a hat, she fails to generate the necessary charisma to convincingly be Charles's object of desire. However, the low wattage generated by the two leads does little to dampen the hilarity or the pathos of this excellent film. While, at nearly two hours, the movie is long for a comedy, the structure and quirky characters easily sustain interest throughout. With "Four Weddings and a Funeral," director Mike Newell has made one of the best romantic comedies, and the film holds up to repeated viewings.
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Delightful Diversion
peacham8 November 2001
"Four Weddings And A Funeral" is indeed a delightful little comedy with some wondeful writing and polished performances.Hugh Grant shines in a role that unfortunately left Him typecast to this day (for a different side of Grant see his brilliant Fredrich Chopin in "Impromptu".) and Kristen Scott Thomas is perfect as the enigmatic Fiona...witty,beautiful and touching. Simon Callow nearly steals the film as Gareth..He is one of the world's finest stage actors and its nice to see him get a film role he can really sink his teeth into. Andie McDowall is very convincing as the object of Grant's affection and Corin Redgrave has a well acted cameo as McDowall's fiancee Hamish. over all a jolly good film,funny,touching and sharp.
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Wonderful Movie...except for that insipid Andie MacDowell
Lolly5321 July 2000
This movie is brilliant, funny, charming, witty, touching. It has two problems, both of them related to the lead female character, Carrie (played by Andie MacDowell).

The first is that the character is not written to be at all likeable. She is engaged to a rich older man she clearly doesn't really love (I think we're supposed to infer that she's a golddigger) and cheats on him with someone she doesn't really care about either (Hugh Grant). Later we learn that she's a slut and a homewrecker (see her appearance at wedding #4--don't tell me it wasn't conniving!). What would make us want this woman to win our beloved Charlie (Hugh Grant) (who is also something of a cad, but a loveable one)?

Carrie might not have been so unpalatable if they'd found an actress who could actually ACT to play her, but instead, they hired Andie MacDowell, who may be pretty, but is as stiff and lifeless as the scenery. Maybe she thinks that's what's called for in a British movie. I wonder that the people casting movies haven't realized that Andie MacDowell simply plays the same character in every movie she's in. By the end of this film, you're incredibly frustrated. You want to adore this movie, because everything about it is so perfect, except for the fact that you hate Andie MacDowell' s character with a passion and wish that she would die so that Charlie could find happiness with a woman who can act.
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A note to the anti-Andie brigade
Spleen12 November 1999
I'm blind to the alleged charm of Andie MacDowell myself. That's why I think that casting her in this film was a stroke of genius, for so far as my senses tell me she perfectly fits the character she plays: a dull beauty who casts a spell over one out of every twenty men she meets, leaving the remaining nineteen cold and completely baffled. Charlie (Hugh Grant) is surrounded by MUCH more desirable female friends - even Duckface has something going for her - but instead of so much as noticing them he falls head over heels for an unattainable woman who is, on top of everything else, boring. Would have been as good as it is if Charlie's passion had made SENSE? Of course not.

Anyway, everyone I know with a low opinion of this film begins the case for the prosecution with an attack on Andie MacDowell. Is there anything else to dislike? I can't see it myself. This is one of the world's few perfect comedies, devoid of longeurs - perhaps the funeral didn't have quite the desired effect - with true comedy and a nice selection of characters. One has no difficulty keeping the dozen or so members of the main set mentally separate. How many romantic comedies can you say THAT about?
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A Nice Little Film That Charmed Its Way to a Best Picture Nod in 1994
tfrizzell28 June 2000
"Four Weddings and a Funeral" is a nice little film from 1994. It did fair at the box office and did fair with critics. The Academy was charmed enough to award the film with a Best Picture nomination. The film deals with a British bachelor (Hugh Grant) who continues to run into a beautiful young American (Andie McDowell) at various weddings in England. As the film progresses their lust for each other turns into love and the finale is a real triumph. This film is a comedy for the most part, but its elements of drama put it above most films that go primarily for laughs. The screenplay is smart and the supporting cast is excellent. Kristin Scott Thomas and Rowan Atkinson (albeit in a very small role) are memorable. 4 out of 5 stars.
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Mostly enjoyable - needs a different ending
elspeth-1117 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I really enjoyed most of this movie - the funeral was devastating. And unlike many, I really do enjoy the standard Hugh Grant (which, in fairness, was not yet "standard" when this movie was new).

BUT (and I'm agreeing with everyone else here) Carrie, the Andie MacDowell character, has nothing going for her. She is not appealing in any way, and she's a slag.

Additionally, the wedding to Duckface is totally unmotivated, and only contrived so that he can leave her at the altar without us hating him.

Here is how it should have gone. The fourth wedding should have been between Charles and Carrie - once she's divorced, there is no impediment after all. Carrie - true to character - will be getting it on with someone else by the night before the wedding. Meanwhile, Charles discovers that he is really in love with Fiona (wasn't that the point of the movie? it's what I expected to happen). The deaf character discovers both these facts and the wedding can now be played as originally scripted.
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One of Britain's finest
TheNorthernMonkee29 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers

Once upon a time there was a British film written by Richard Curtis which made countless young actors careers. That film was "Four Weddings And A Funeral" and despite a few flaws, it remains as fresh today as it did in 1994.

In "Four Weddings And A Funeral" we are introduced to a group of friends who are all looking for love. There's the extremely posh but extremely adorable Fiona (Kristin Scott-Thomas), her idiotic brother Tom (James Fleet), the excentric Scarlett (the late Charlotte Coleman), gay couple Gareth and Matthew (Simon Callow and John Hannah), deaf friend David (David Bower) and most importantly of all, their useless mate Charles (Hugh Grant). The film covers these friends adventures over four weddings and one of their owns brace with mortality. Primarily though, it's a love story between Charles and the mysterious American Carrie (played with a wooden quality by Andie MacDowell). From their first meeting until the obvious conclusion, these two show signs of chemistry and leave the audience wanting a happy ending.

The best part of this film, by some considerable distance, is the link between the friends. In their friendships our own relationships are reflected, and they remind us of how great these connections can be. Kristin Scott-Thomas and Simon Callow in particular are outstanding, Scott-Thomas showing signs of a promising career and Callow holding his own as one of the few old faces amongst a sea of fresh young actors. When this huge group of friends are all on screen together, the film is best off for it.

In contrast with the group of friends, the acting takes a nosedive when Andie MacDowell is on screen. I actually feel sorry for MacDowell when I hear criticisms of this film. Whilst it is an awful performance by her, it should not be seen as a regular occurance. Whilst she is dire in this film, in "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray, she holds her own and demonstrates potential. It is just a shame that she is so useless in this piece.

When talking about this film, the script and the group of friends make this film what it is. Grant and company make this film amazing. Sadly though, the film does dip when Andie MacDowell is on the screen. Despite one American flaw though, this film does remain one of Britain's finest pieces of cinema ever.
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OK but not worth the reputation it has surprisingly held with it over the past decade
bob the moo16 July 2005
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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Laughter and tears as Hugh Grant finds love at Four Weddings and a Funeral
Tweekums9 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Charles has attended many weddings with his group of unmarried friends; none were his though. Then, at a wedding where he is the best man, he sees Carrie and it is love at first sight. Things seem to go well and he spends the night with her; then she says she must return to the United States. He doesn't expect to see her again but a few months later, while attending another wedding, he meets her again… the 'best wedding ever' quickly becomes the worst though when he learns that she is now engaged; that doesn't stop him sleeping with her again though. The next wedding is Carries and this goes well enough; right up until Charles's friend Gareth collapses and dies. After the funeral it is time for another wedding; this time Charles is getting married… the question is who is his bride and is he over Carrie?

The plot of this film is fairly simple but none the less effective. The four weddings and the funeral of the title provide lots of laughs, some enjoyable romance and more than a few tears. Hugh Grant is great as Charles; it is the sort of role he was made to play and Andie MacDowell is likable as Carrie although we don't really get to know her character as well as we might. The strength of the film is maintained by an excellent supporting cast; Simon Callow does a fine job as the exuberant Gareth and John Hannah is equally good as Gareth's boyfriend Matthew; it is nice to see this gay couple being shown as ordinary people rather than camp clichés. It was also good to see that Charles's deaf brother, David, was portrayed by deaf actor David Bower. The late Charlotte Coleman is utterly delightful as Scarlett. The rest of the cast are pretty good too. Overall this is a great rom com that has stood the test of time; well worth watching… or rewatching.
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So overrated it should be criminal
summerskter27 July 2011
This movie is so frustratingly forgettable. It is a romance which makes absolutely no sense to the viewer.

The object of affection is a promiscuous, threesome-having, cheating, superficial, self-absorbed woman named Carrie, which Andie Macdowell plays as if she were just a breezy, soft-spoken nice girl. Andie is so uncomfortable in this role that every single line is delivered in a monotone drawl. If you can get through her last line, "Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed," while they are standing in a downpour, without laughing, my hat's off to you.

Without spoiling to much, let's just say if you value romance, like actual romance involving two people getting along, spending some quality non-sex time together, you are not going to find it in this hollow, mechanical movie. And when I mean hollow, I mean so completely insincere that anyone who lives in the real world would find the characters' behavior mystifying until the ending credits. I still don't understand what this movie was trying to say.

I was 100% rooting for Hugh Grant (Charles) to end up with either of the two eligible women who are actually loyal and devoted to him, and who don't treat him and his feelings dismissively throughout the entire film, as Carrie does.

So terribly disappointing.
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The movie? Not bad. McDowell? Disastrous.
rajulkabir5 June 2000
The movie was funny, easy to watch. Hugh Grant's character - the same one he plays in every film - is sufficiently charming that it can pull you through any number of storybook plots without all that much trouble.

But Andie McDowell - and I was so seized by this that I registered on this site just to make this comment, marking the first time I've posted anything on one of these - acts so badly I was squirming in my chair with vicarious embarassment every time she stood in front of the camera. At first, I thought her character was simply being sarcastic and thus speaking with an exaggerated indifference. Then I realized that the story called for nothing of the sort, and it was just her. Each sentence was blurted in the same vacant monotone, like she was the voicemail lady sitting in a room reading off disjointed phrases to be pieced together later by a computer. Out of the hundreds of engaging, beautiful, talented actresses who would be champing at the bit to appear with Grant in a sure-fire feelgood movie such as this, how, I ask, how could they have selected her? And after all the film was in the can, available for objective review, what callous laziness prevented the studio from employing the best CGI talent available to excise her visage and droning voice from every frame and replace it with something more lifelike, such as perhaps a Dalek from an old Dr. Who episode?
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Three laughs and a ton of rubbish (spoilers throughout)
Ricky_Roma__9 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
So let me get this straight. There's this British bloke who sleeps with this American gal. Just once, mind you. But despite this, he falls hopelessly in love. However, she leaves and doesn't call him back. Then when they see each other again, she's engaged. But for some reason she sleeps with him again. Oh, and then she takes him out shopping with her. As if that isn't torture enough, she's shopping for a wedding dress and makes him watch as she tries on various gowns. What kind of woman is this? And why should I give a damn about her? And how the hell can the filmmakers expect me to be happy when these two imbeciles end up getting married? But then again this a Working Title picture and a film scripted by Richard Curtis. Drivel is their forte.

What I hate most about Four Weddings and a Funeral is how mechanical it is. There's not one genuine moment or one piece of sincerity. Its whole purpose is to manipulate in the name of entertainment. Just take the ludicrous sequence of events listed above. It isn't done because it echoes genuine human behaviour. It's done so that the screenplay can move from Point A to Point B. And that's how I really see the film. I see it as plot points. Charles and Carrie have to meet so that the wheel can start turning. Then they have to sleep together so that they Charles can fall in love. But then Carrie has to leave to keep the tension going. However, Carrie has to come back to keep up the interest. But she has to be engaged to provide an obstacle. But then they have to sleep together again to keep the promise of romance later in the film spluttering along. But then she has to leave again to tighten the tension. Then she has to get married to wind the tension even tighter. But then someone has to die so that Charles can come to the conclusion that life is only meaningful if you're married. This of course then means that Charles has to decide to marry someone awful so that we can be jolly pleased when he decides not to and when he decides to marry his true love who has suddenly, miraculously even, recently separated – a woman, let me remind you again, who jerks him about and who rubs her engagement to another man in his face. It's a load of rubbish.

It's not very funny either. I think I laughed three times. The first laugh was at the drunk man in the pub, the second was at the awful best man's speech and the third was at the sex scene. Aside from that though, I didn't even crack a smile. Most of the humour fell flat. Just take Rowan Atkinson's cameo. You can see the jokes coming a mile away. Then there's the 'hilarious' swearing. I tell you, Richard Curtis just cannot do swearing. He tries his best in every screenplay he writes but it's so self-conscious that it's cringe worthy. And I'm someone who loves profanity. I mean, it kills me that I can't swear in these reviews, it really does. But Richard Curtis is no Peter Cook, no Ricky Gervais and no Chris Morris. He's just a middle class twit feeding America's preconceptions about Britain – that we're uncomfortable with sex, that we're all loveably quirky and that in every corner there are dancing homosexuals.

But the worst thing in the film is actually the American (or Andie MacDowell as she is otherwise known). I've already talked about her ridiculous character but her acting is astoundingly bad. She can't deliver a line. The worst example is, "Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed." The line in itself is awful enough, but when it's expressed in a monotone drawl, it's unbearable. And then there's the scene where she plays a joke on Charles. He doesn't know that it's a joke but when he does realise he laughs with relief. Pretty standard stuff. Only Andie MacDowell's laugh is so feeble that she does actually look like the bunny killer stereotype that Charles is laughing at. She doesn't look like she's joking at all. She looks dead serious.

But the established actors aren't much better. Simon Callow, in particular, is hideously bad. I mean, he's a good actor, but in this film, like everyone, he tires too damn hard. He's a gay stereotype turned up to 11. I was actually quite thankful when he died so that he could give me a break. But at least Curtis had the good sense to ensure that he didn't die of AIDS. At least he didn't play that cliché.

However, the death of Callow's character leads to the terrible funeral scene. It's not moving. It's not emotional. It's just a cynical way to play the audience and to get Charles to the next plot point. He has to see that monogamy is the way to true happiness and that you're a no one if you don't have someone crying at your funeral. What tosh!

Then there's the ending. If everything else is just bad, then the ending is offensive. What happens? Why, everyone gets married, of course! (Oh, but not the gay man, you understand. Although he does find a new 'special friend'.) Bloody hell. It's bad in the sense that all the loose ends are tied neatly together but it's even worse in the sense that it sells conformity and belief in an archaic institution as the only road to happiness. How terribly middle class.

Oh, and if the film had a brain, and if Charles had a brain too, he would have dumped the American for Kristin Scott Thomas. But we can't have that, can we? That would have killed the transatlantic appeal.
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Never less than hugely enjoyable
TheLittleSongbird12 April 2010
While starting off a little on the slow side, this film is never less than hugely enjoyable. The tale of the bachelor, his friends and their romantic escapades is constantly charming, witty, poignant and most of all funny, and the humour here is suitably understated. The film further benefits from being superbly written, beautifully filmed and sharply directed with a well structured story that could have easily have been episodic. Also whereas there have been films where I have been indifferent to the characters, the script ensured that the characters were warm and easy to empathise with. I think it is also to do with the quality of the acting, with Hugh Grant at his most charming, Andie MacDowell at her most enigmatic and Simon Callow and Kristen Scott-Thomas especially outstanding among the supporting cast.

Overall, Four Weddings and a Funeral is a hugely enjoyable and enduring film. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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Delightful romantic comedy despite uneven Andie MacDowell
long-ford13 February 2009
This film is a delightful romantic comedy with some measure of poignancy. Seamlessly directed by Mike Newell, the film has Hugh Grant in top form playing a stiff and slightly bumbling Englishman, a role he has patented over the years. The entire cast chips in well with some fine understated British humor. Rowan Atkinson has a short but hilarious cameo. Andie MacDowell is the only odd member in the cast. She is surprisingly uneven and her last scene is a shocker. There's a (MINOR SPOILERS) poignant funeral later in the film with John Hannah delivering an impassioned eulogy. Worth watching.

Overall 8/10
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Not as charming as I remembered
mistereight88886 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Note: spoilers ahead.

The screenwriter, Richard Curtis, is the deserved king of Brit romantic comedy (deserved based on his films' box office success), so when this came on tv the other night (Jan., 2004), I thought I would watch to see how the master does it. I had remembered thinking when I first saw it that it was an excellent light entertainment that was so tightly and inventively written that it went beyond light into meaningful. But, ten years later, it doesn't hold up so well. Not that it's bad, it's just so slight. I attribute this partly to the structure--it's hard to bring out much character in the three weddings and funeral that occur prior to the finale wedding/denouemont--but mainly I attribute it's slightness to the fact that we don't know much about Andie MacDowell's character... other than she's a bit of a slut. I realize she's written to be mysterious, at least I presume that's what it is, and she plays everything she is given, so my quarrel isn't with her performance, it's just that she goes directly into sex after barely even talking to Hugh Grant, and I mean barely. Yes they meet at the first wedding, and have a few near misses there and one later at their hotel, but then she invites him up for a drinky and immediately they go boom boom. Okay, fine, maybe she's not easy and just had a fling. But then she does it again later, but this time she's engaged! And she's engaged to a guy the movie has shown to be a shallow sot. But we never see any other side of her than the sleep-around, marry-someone-wrong-for-her-side. Other than being charming and lovely, she isn't given anything especially redeeming, or really anything at all, meaning her character isn't just slutty, but deeply shallow. So why care if Hugh Grant ends up with her? What's the big attraction other than her her looks (and her hat)? She's probably very, very good in the sack, but that's not enough to keep us interested as an audience. Overall, her character's lack of depth, at least as she is drawn, is a huge flaw in this movie and prevents it from being anything remotely close to a classic. It's flawed fluff, with good patches of writing and good performances.
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Wonderfully funny, warm and emotional - the perfect romantic-comedy
grantss5 June 2016
We see the lives of a group of friends, largely through scenes at four weddings and a funeral. In this group is Charles who has a unhappy past with relationships. Then he meets an American woman, Carrie, at one of the weddings and it seems like his luck has changed. However, things are not so simple. As with almost everyone in his group of friends, it appears that the Right One is out there but never available.

Wonderfully funny, warm and emotional - the perfect romantic-comedy. Written by Richard Curtis, of Blackadder fame, and directed by Mike Newell, this movie works on so many levels. As a comedy it is superb - very funny and intelligently so. Then there's the friends aspect, which creates a great warmth and engagement and a feeling of camaraderie. Characters have depth and complement each other well.

Lastly, it works very well as a romantic drama too. Not your usual schmaltzy, formulaic romance but an intelligent examination of the subject.

Hugh Grant is great as Charles. The role pretty much locked in his character in future roles - the shy, hesitant, stammering yet charming type. He has played that in about every role since.

The group of friends are well cast and give spot-on performances: John Hannah (as Matthew), James Fleet (Tom). Kristen Scott Thomas (Fiona), Simon Callow (Gareth) and Charlotte Coleman (Scarlett).

Rowan Atkinson has a minor part but is responsible for possibly the funniest scene in the movie.

The only negative thing about the movie is the performance of Andie McDowell (as Carrie). Not terrible, just a flat, aloof delivery and thus quite unengaging. This is made more obvious by the fact that the other characters exude such warmth and vibrancy, making her seem quite cold. She doesn't wreck the movie but it would have been even better with a better actress in that role.
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Brilliant British Rom-Com
MattyGibbs7 December 2015
Four Weddings and a Funeral was a smash hit on release and it's easy to see why. A brilliant British cast and a funny clever and witty script make this a must see.

It follows a myriad of characters as they intertwine as the title suggests four weddings and a funeral. What's great this film is that it is full of great characters. Hugh Grant leads the way as the charming Charles who finds it hard to settle down. Whilst Grant is superb he is by no means the only one with plenty of pitch perfect performances from the likes of Simon Callow, John Hannah and Kristin Scott Thomas. The only real weak link is Andie MacDowell but even though she has been slated for her performance it's not the worst in the world.

This is a film full of genuinely funny moments but also some sad ones. The funeral is genuinely touching and uses the poem 'Funeral Blues' to great effect.

This is a film that is entertaining from start to finish and as well as Grant's finest moment, for me is the best Rom-Com ever made. Highly recommended.
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Creme de la creme of romantic comedies
sophieahmed23 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Four Weddings has achieved iconic status as a British film and for good reasons. It comes under the category of a romantic comedy but I would argue that it is in fact far more than that. It is a film about love in all its myriad and astonishing aspects - love between man and woman, or between 2 men, love between mother and child and longstanding friendship which can be much more important than sexual love. You would need a heart of stone not to cry at the funeral scene. The film is beautiful to look at with the contrasting weddings and gorgeous costumes. It is directed with a very light touch and interweaves the main characters in an ingenious way. The acting is generally superb and without a doubt it is Hugh Grant's greatest role - before he became middle aged and cynical. My only objection is that Andie McDowell was a very odd choice for the role, not very beautiful and not a serious actress. Apart from that, the film is perfect in every respect and I could watch it forever.
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Stop the clocks I love this movie.
juneebuggy2 June 2015
It doesn't matter how many times I watch this (and I keep watching it every single time I come across it on TV) I still quit changing channels and get completely sucked into this movie. It's such a classic. Funny, bumbling, charming, endearing. I just love everything about it.

I also think this is when Hugh Grant became, well, the Hugh Grant we've seen in every single movie he's done since. It doesn't matter though, this is just fantastic.

Randomly that scene at the funeral when the secret boyfriend recites the poem "stop the clocks" is my favourite scene. Beautiful.
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Boring, Boring and even more Boring
Tom623 June 2003
I've rented this film some years ago, in the hope to see a funny britsh comedy. After all, the film was hyped to be the romantic comedy of the year.

I somehow managed to watch it completely through (maybe the couple of beers I drank helped me), but neither I could raise a single laugh nor did I find any romantic scene.

Hugh Grant "acted" (as usual) like a warmed-up corpse. Maybe this is what the american audience found so funny, but I found it rather pathetic.

After seeing this boring product, I avoid any film that has Hugh Grant in it, since I'm absolutely sure that he ruins them all with his "presence".
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