Weddings are some of the most deeply divisive events that you're bound to attend, time and time again over the course of your life. People seem to either love or hate weddings, and they certainly cause a lot of strife and stress for all involved. At any given wedding, there's laughter, there's tears, there's a sense of grave importance as well as a semimagical air of endless possibility. And as much as people endure weddings, we as an audience seem to crave wedding movies, given the relentless surge of them, especially over the last few years.
However, we may very well be reaching total, terrible, sprawling wedding-movie saturation with the advent of The Big Wedding, (although it seemed as if Mamma Mia! was going to stay on that throne for a while longer).
Yes, there are many reasons weddings make particularly good fodder for dramatic, overwrought comedic films. Weddings aren't really rare but they are highly unique occurrences, and as such, are big gathering places for people that wouldn't normally come into contact with one another: family members no one has seen in ages, as well as friends both old and new. Weddings also cost an exorbitant amount, from the expensive dress that the bride set her heart on to the soggy dinner that nobody wants to the DJ who refuses to play anything good. Add all of these ingredients into the pressure cooker of the modern wedding industrial complex that says this must be the perfect day, and, well then, expectations are sky high. Because of all these variables, there's almost an endless amount of things that can happen in a big, wild wedding movie.
Movies like Made of Honor or 27 Dresses or American Wedding pretty much add nothing to the world. At all. If anything, they make the world a worse place to be, and we keep feeding our dollars into the wedding-movie machine. Wedding movies turn us into the worst versions of ourselves: judgmental jerks who relish the mess ups, the ripped dresses and drunk bridesmaids and late priests and chaos out the wazoo. Sometimes there's more to it than that, when put into the hands of a skilled writer, talented director and an eager, game cast. But for the most part, bad wedding movies are making us dumber and angrier.
Before you get all upset about how much you love Father of the Bride, yes, there are a few very good wedding movies that are entirely toothsome and satisfying. Father of the Bride, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Rachel Getting Married, Bridesmaids and Monsoon Wedding, to name a few. But these good wedding movies are able to transcend the basic plot and focus on something more essential to the human experience. Bad wedding movies are the total opposite, formulaic dreck that's almost offensively stupid in how poorly everyone acts and reacts.
Our sickly obsession with wedding movies has to end, or we're looking at years of movies along the line of Bride Wars, License to Wed and The Wedding Date -- three movies so devoid of logic, humor or talent as to be nothing more than a cheap play for your ticket dollars. Some hapless souls will likely try and say that the reason they like the movies are because they're so bad, but no, that's not an acceptable answer. Movies train our brains whether we like it or not, and the last thing anyone needs in their life is to obsess over something as ultimately trivial as a wedding. We don't eat garbage out of a trash can so why would we go see Bride Wars?
Weddings are easy targets, but let's get over our petty need to see someone's big day ruined or gorge ourselves on ridiculously expensive and ultimately unattainable dresses and parties. Christopher Nolan and Marvel came along and changed our minds about what a superhero movie could be, and in much the same way, so did Bridesmaids. We were shown women who had more going on in their lives, who fell into a wedding trap but pulled themselves back out. Because there's a lot of good to be found amidst the endless trappings of the day as well, though. The aspect of celebrating the past while looking into the future is at the heart of what weddings truly are. For all the folderal, it's a day dedicated to two people who believe enough in the possibility of real love that they are pledging to be together forever.
Let's agree to stop seeing wedding movies that are nothing more than a bad script sent into production since the studios know that wedding movies will sell. Let's go see the good ones and skip any of the ones where Robin Williams plays a priest or Katherine Heigl plays a bitter single lady, because we've almost got enough for a box set at this point, and not a one of them is worth seeing. A good film can leave you thinking for days, in a different frame of mind, open up new worlds or entertain and illuminate in equal measure. Bad wedding movies have given us nothing of the sort, no laughs or thoughtful moments just a hangover level of vague, lingering disappointment. So let's make it stop.