Who’s In It: Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mather Zickel, Bill Irwin, Anna Deavere Smith, Tunde Adebimpe, Debra Winger
The Basics: Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt, from Mad Men) is getting married to that guy from TV on The Radio (Tunde Adebimpe). That’s why you look at him the whole movie and then keep knocking at your brain trying to figure out where you’ve seen him before. Anyway, not the point. Drug addict Anne Hathaway is Rachel’s sister, out of rehab for a weekend and determined to make the party all about her. It’s all snotty fun at first. Then it turns into a very attractive, preppy-bohemian, dysfunctional family drama with, yes, secrets and revelations and tears and yelling and all that other stuff that makes Academy voters sweaty with tingly award-giving excitement.
What’s The Deal: I just made this sound like a less decent movie than it is. It is good. It even transcends the trite stuff with heartfelt performances and a general all-is-forgiven benevolence near the end. Of course it’s easy to start forgiving people when your wedding party has a cake shaped like a giant elephant and bridesmaids in saris and Brazilian carnaval ladies in feathered headdresses shaking it all over the place and all the grandmas in the house adorably dancing to hip-hop and Robyn Hitchcock showing up to perform. Which is exactly what happens here.
Odd Moment That Starts Cool And Turns Lame: The entire clan gathers in the kitchen for an ironic yet cutthroat dishwasher-loading contest (complete with visiting musicians hovering nearby playing fast-paced “race against time” music on violins) that eventually serves to highlight a huge family rift and to rip the psychic scabs off old wounds.
Besides Anne Hathaway’s Brittle Performance, Bad Hair And Minimal Make-Up, Why It’s Worth Seeing: Because in spite of it being sort of middling and way more lightweight than it thinks it is, it’s also generous and kind and even moving at times. And Debra Winger’s in it!
Better Wedding Movies: Margot at The Wedding (meaner), Robert Altman's A Wedding (weirder), and Muriel’s Wedding (ABBA songs).