Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wedding jitters, wedded bliss

(From the June 16-30 issue of The Fortnightly)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

To have and to hold! Tying the knot is considered a declaration of lifelong devotion by many couples. Whether getting hitched is the culmination of a loving relationship, or something that’s done for the wrong reasons, some films reflect the complex situations inherent in unusual, fabricated, and even accidental marriages.

Forever hold your peace: My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
Falling in love with your best friend can be painful when he loves someone else. The bittersweet rom-com stars Julia Roberts as Julianne, a restaurant critic who falls for her old college buddy Michael (Dermot Mulroney)--who’s about to marry a younger woman, Kimberly (Cameron Diaz). Julianne tries to sabotage the impending wedding, but sets the guy free after realizing that the feeling isn’t mutual. Not a traditional, happily-ever-after Hollywood romantic comedy, but it’s respectable for defying what’s become the norm.

Here comes the bride: Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005)
The animated film’s seemingly kid-friendly, Nightmare Before Christmas-esque designs belie the mature themes and complicated story. Tim Burton’s typically odd but engrossing tale involves similarly strange characters, and a really bizarre love triangle. Shy Victor is betrothed to reclusive Victoria. While practicing his vows in the woods, he unintentionally marries and reanimates a corpse, Emily. The film’s romantic twists and turns intrigue, examining the complex nature of vows, apart from offering a unique macabre mystery.

Never the groom: The Wedding Singer (1998)
It’s a late ‘90s comedy set in the mid-‘80s, one of Adam Sandler’s genuinely funny films. His wedding singer character Robbie is heartbroken after his fiancĂ©e dumps him, but he finds love anew with Julia, a waitress played by Drew Barrymore. Robbie and Julia’s relationship has its obstacles, but they predictably end up together, thanks partly to that somewhat cheesy but undeniably romantic song “Grow Old With You.”

Something blue: The Wedding Banquet (1993)
A gay man, Wai-Tung, marries a straight woman, Wei-Wei, to please his parents and help his “spouse” get a green card. This takes place with the consent of Wai-Tung’s boyfriend Simon. But the trio’s bond immediately gets complicated after the wedding. Ang Lee’s first film on homosexuality is an endearing and witty comedy-drama; it questions traditions while realistically portraying romantic and familial rapports.

Till death do them part: Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)
John and Jane Smith (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) are assassins, but are keeping that secret from each other. The marriage has become dull after a few years, but marital fire is rekindled after the pair discovers their long-hidden similarities. The stylish action-comedy flick entertains with its energetic spin on rediscovery and reconnection. 

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