Retro-mad movie marathon review: Out at the Wedding (US, 2007)

The story:

Cosmopolitan New Yorker (isn’t that an oxymoron?) Alex (Andrea Marcellus) is engaged to Dana (Mystro Clark), an Jewish African-American pilot. She has deceived Dana into believing that her whole family is dead, as the family is a typical wealthy small town family from the South whom she thinks are conservative and too embarrassing to introduce to her fiance (poor Southerners, always getting bad rap from lesbian movies. ^^ Please see “It’s in the Water” for similar setting). She is estranged from her distant father, and equally estranged from her younger sister, Jeannie (Desi Lydic) with whom she has a love-hate relationship, since the younger sister has a rep for always stealing her boyfriends (glad I don’t have that problem with my sib). However, when Jeannie gets married, Alex attends the wedding, dragging her gay best friend, Jonathan (Charlie Shlatter – whose film credits include “Police Academy: Mission to Moscow” – heheh I thought he looked familiar! I only remember him because that film featured a very young Claire Forlani – crush!) along. When Jonathan has a conversation with a drunken wedding guest who mistakes his coming out to mean that Alex is a lesbian and that Dana is a woman (stupid wedding guest!), the misunderstanding turns into gossip that spreads like wildfire and Alex finds herself being outed. Surprisingly, her fake lesbianism becomes a way to be closer to her father, who, though disapproving of it, grudgingly accepts her, and to be as close to her younger sister, who suddenly displays a sudden interest in her (and I quote) “lifestyle” (you can so see where this is going, can’t you?).  Alex doesn’t find the heart to tell them that she isn’t gay and that Dana isn’t a woman, but a Jewish African American man, because it’s the first time she’s ever connected to her sister and father. She thus hires, against her better judgment and at the suggestion of her best friend, a lesbian, Rissa, played by Cathy de Buno, who, in typical lesbian fashion, is an electrician by day, and an artist by night who doesn’t do coffee, processed food, processed sugar, meat or milk. Alex walks Rissa through her life and helps her to be more like Dana, while Rissa familiarizes Alex with the gay scene (lesbian actress Jill Bennett and lesbian stand-up comedian Julie Goldman make an appearance here). There’s an awkward scene where Alex tries to be more butch by wearing flannel shirts, jeans, a mullet and a neck choker – which is just not that good (I like flannel as well, I don’t know. It must be a gay thing). Anyway, things start becoming complicated when Alex’s future father-in-law runs into her while she’s with Rissa, and Rissa confuses him with her real family, which complicates things even further. Things get worse when Jeannie the sister comes for a visit and starts flirting with Rissa. Alex is horrified that Risssa is flirting with her as well. To make matters worse, the future in-laws start suspecting that Alex is hiding something and start investigating her “lifestyle”. An awkward scene ensues, where Rissa, Jeannie and Alex are in the living room trying to explain away the misunderstanding to the future in-laws which gets even me confused. To distract everyone from Alex’s deceitful ways, her befriend pulls them into a ballroom dancing competition, a bad idea, since Rissa and Jeannie become even closer – culminating in a kissing scene on the streets and a thwarted make-out scene in Alex’s apartment, thus effectively outing Jeannie and complicating things even further – effectively stretching my patience too much, as well. Of course, the future in-laws come, the fiance comes, father and Jeannie’s new husband come and oh, joy, more drama and complication! Suffice it to say that things get sorted out and everyone goes to bed with the one they really want and the wedding takes place as planned. The end.

Verdict: This is actually better than “It’s in the Water” – it’s a bit less awkward, the acting is a bit better, the storyline is a bit more plausible, but I find the complications, the ensuing lies (the lies that beget more lies)  that pile up one after the other to get tedious to the point of annoying. It feels a bit like it wants to be a Woody Allen movie, complete with the jazzy/bluesy soundtrack (it is, after all, set in New York), or at least wants to be its erstwhile, far superior sister film, “Kissing Jessica Stein”, but where “Jessica Stein” succeeds in its artsy, classy, intellectual approach to the idea of a single New York woman trying to find love in the Big Apple, “Out at the Wedding” feels like it tries too much to be something it’s not. However, it does gets points for trying and it is still fun to watch. 🙂

I am now off to watch another lesbian film. 🙂

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