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DVD Review: Wedding Daze

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It was nearly two years ago that I was at the local cineplex to see The Libertine, when I was approached by a young lady asking if I was interested in attending a test audience screening of a film being held at the nearby community college. Being the movie fan that I am, and not having had this particular opportunity before, I immediately said I would attend. She gave me a flyer with the location, date, and time, thanked me and moved on to some other people standing around.

A few days later I was sitting in an auditorium watching a film called The Pleasure of Your Company. It was the very first cut of the film, had temp music, unfinished effects, and the end credits was just a scroll of the words "End Credits." It was an enjoyable experience with a film I felt was entertaining if insubstantial. We had a brief discussion with a couple of the producers in attendance and went on our way.

What does this have to do with Wedding Daze? Well, The Pleasure of Your Company was the original title of the film, which has also been called The Next Girl I See (which is actually the best of the three titles). Nearly two years since that first cut, the film makes its DVD debut (released this past January), completely bypassing American theatrical release. I am guessing the tests did not go that well and they felt it would perform stronger going straight to DVD. Still, it has been put up on the big screen in other nations around the world, beginning with the UK in June of 2007 and most recently in Turkey this past January, plus it will have a German release this May. To date, it has taken in north of $7.5 million worldwide. Small potatoes to be sure, but nothing to sneeze at for a little film like this.

Anyway, the film stars Jason Biggs and Isla Fisher as the unlikliest of engaged couples. Comedian Michael Ian Black makes his feature film debut as writer and director. It is comedy about love, marriage, and the wackiness that can lead us in very strange directions in the search for it. Well, something like that anyway. Revisiting the film in a more complete format on DVD reveals it to be a lesser experience than it was at the test screening. The only reason it is at all entertaining is the presence of the likable stars.

As the movie opens, Jason Biggs as Anderson is dressed, rather nearly naked, as Cupid and is about to enter a restaurant where his girlfriend, Vanessa (Audra Blaser), is awaiting his arrival. He is preparing to propose to her, while she is tempted by the busboy and his line of being special ops. Anyway, Anderson enters and delivers his proposal to the shocked patronage. Before Vanessa can answer, she keels over and dies of an apparent heart attack.

This tragedy throws his life into a shambles to the point where he scarcely does anything. Then, about a year into his self-imposed isolation, his best friend encourages him to look around and find someone new. Anderson looks around the diner and spies the waitress. Her name is Katie (Isla Fisher). He proceeds to propose, she accepts, and comedy ensues.

We are introduced to both sets of wacky parents, including Katie's felon father Smitty (Joe Pantoliano). We meet Katie's circus friends, Jane (Heather Goldenhersh) and Matador (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). Together, they all try to keep them together, while Vanessa's ghost haunts Anderson and Katie's ex, Michael, attempts to keep them apart.

The film is nothing terribly special and never does anything very original. It is what it is and then it is no more. Not to say it is not entertaining; it has its moments, but nothing that will last. Jason Biggs is good, playing a variation of his American Pie character. Isla Fisher just lights up the screen as the bubbly Katie. She has a very good future ahead of her, and has done some good work since making this film. The supporting cast fills their roles fine, but again, nothing terribly special.

There are moments thatr smack of Michael Ian Black, but overall I just get the impression he was trying to be mainstream with this feature. His "voice" does not come through very strongly, at least not the voice I have come to expect from his Stella work and his other oddball work, including his appearances on VH1.

Audio/Video. The DVD looks fine. It is a well done transfer that accurately captures the image and sound while not being overly impressive. Of course, this is not the kind of film that will tax your A/V setup.

Extras. The bonus material is limited to a trio of deleted scenes, all of which were in the initial cut that I saw. They total about five minutes and their absence does not hurt the final film in the least.

Bottom line. My rating may not be high, but it is worth a rental for an at-home date night. It is innocuous enough and provides enough smiles to deliver a moderately entertaining evening. It is rated R, but it is a mild R and probably would have been better served if it targeted a PG-13 instead.

Mildly Recommended.

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