Netflix’s “Love Wedding Repeat” tells the story of a wedding gone wrong, yet the film itself cannot seem to go right.
The romantic comedy brings together eight eccentric guests at a wedding and lets sparks fly among them, whether they be romantic fireworks or comical backfires. Though the film succeeds in ridiculousness, the romance ends up being hardly compelling.
Written and directed by Dean Craig, the movie is a remake of the French film “Plan de table.” Its characters are inspired by Craig’s own “Death at a Funeral,” and it owes its premise of living the same day repeatedly to “Groundhog Day.” Perhaps such inspiration explains how the humor in “Love Wedding Repeat” can hit the mark even while its romance falls flat.
The movie takes place in an exquisite Italian villa on the wedding day of Hayley (Eleanor Tomlinson), sister to main character Jack (Sam Claflin). Jack tries to ensure everything goes perfectly for Hayley, while also trying to ignite a relationship with Dina (Olivia Munn), Hayley’s friend whom he has not seen in three years. Also at the wedding to ensure nothing goes right are Jack’s ex-girlfriend Amanda (Freida Pinto), her new obnoxious boyfriend, Chaz (Allan Mustafa), and additional guests who all have annoying traits of their own.
The film is premised on making everything go off course. Whether it is a drugged guest giving a wedding speech, another man screaming secrets about the bride or an awkward man interrupting two people’s chance at love, there are plenty of cringeworthy moments to make the viewer either laugh or turn away.
After Hayley kisses the groom at the film’s outset, she declares nothing could go wrong, which only forewarns what is about to come. The principal threat to Hayley’s big day is the uninvited arrival of her ex-boyfriend Marc (Jack Farthing), requiring Jack to do damage control while navigating a few conflicts of his own. Jack’s distressed attempts to deter him make for highly laughable moments, like locking Marc in a closet and unsuccessfully trying to talk some reason into him.
The characters’ distinct personalities managed to provide enjoyable interactions for the viewer, as the film leans into each of their socially awkward tendencies. Along with the continuous spiral of problems, the humor keeps viewers engaged for the movie’s entirety even as other plot devices fall flat.
The other major theme driving the film is chance — how a single action can either solve or exponentially exacerbate a problem, creating infinite ways in which a series of events could unfold. The narrator, the disembodied voice of an elderly British woman, occasionally quips there are thousands of ways of seating eight guests at a table, each granting an entirely different outcome.
Although a thoughtful message at the outset, this theme, unfortunately, is the source of most of the movie’s problems. Labeled as a romantic comedy, it is hard to root for a romance among any of the characters given how the film cycles through alternate scenarios, so that no tension builds up between love interests. The movie builds up to a grand declaration of love, yet the act is not alluring. The audience has seen all the alternate scenarios in which it does not happen, when over and over again the love interests demonstrate absolutely no chemistry.
Despite its flaws, the movie does have a few standout attributes. For one, the movie was shot at the 17th-century Villa Parisi, located right outside of Rome. The beautiful garden and the luxurious, ornate mansion allow viewers to experience an aesthetically ideal destination wedding. All characters were dressed impeccably, and despite the chaos, the audience cannot help but savor their extravagance.
The movie misses out on its chance for romance but succeeds in terms of comedy. There were infinite ways “Love Wedding Repeat” could have turned out — it just needed a few more tries to be a hit.