Sunday, September 9, 2018

Movie Review: "Destination Wedding" (2018)

Director: Victor Levin
Year: 2018
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Two miserable cynics find a connection while attending a destination wedding neither of them really wanted to go to in the first place.

"I believe there is nobody for anyone." (Image Source)
It turns out that misery really does love company. "Destination Wedding" is writer and director Victor Levin's follow-up to his feature-film directorial debut "5 to 7." This story is about two miserable cynics named Frank (Keanu Reeves) and Lindsay (Winona Ryder), who happen to be attending the same destination wedding in Paso Robles, California. They seem to dislike each other a whole heck of a lot after their first encounter, but their mutual disdain for everyone around them is greater than their hostility towards each other. Given their similar attitudes and close proximity, the two find a mutual understanding with one another and start a budding, awkward, possibly toxic relationship.
"It's very difficult to give myself over to any sort of positive activity." (Image Source)
"Destination Wedding" is what "Before Sunrise" would have been if instead of idealistic college-aged people looking at the world with hope while discussing philosophy, life, and love, it was about jaded, pessimistic, sniping middle-aged social outcasts who hate their lives and all the people in them. Imagine that instead of the nuanced, very layered acting abilities of Ethan Hawke, the lead character was replaced with the very one-note acting of Keanu Reeves. Don't get us wrong, we love some Keanu Reeves. There's nothing better than watching him beat people up in "John Wick," "Speed," or "The Matrix." We love when he's got a laid-back surfer attitude in "Point Break" and adore when he's playing the dumb rocker in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," but these two-person walking-talking-style romances require someone with a bit more range. As for Winona Ryder, she does a fine, believable job in her part. When Frank and Lindsay first meet, they have a bit of a heated back and forth, which we found a little charming and funny...the first time around. However, the appeal of their bickering quickly fades as their interactions turn into a bigger, more toxic bitch-fest with every subsequent exchange they have. One cannot deny that a few of their conversations ring true and do feel a little realistic, but on the other hand, the majority of the dialogue sounds like banter absolutely no one would say in a natural conversation.

Apart from these two warring characters joining forces due to their mutual loathing, at its core, "Destination Wedding" is a very typical romance. We knew how it would end within the first five seconds of Frank and Lindsay meeting one other. This would be fine if we believed in the characters and rooted for the development of their relationship, but their entire affair is more a matter of convenience and proximity than actual chemistry and mutual interest. The only thing they have in common is their misery and an ample aversion to others. Seeing them together is like watching someone pour gasoline on an already raging fire, it's causing more harm than good. Frank and Lindsay are each a bitter pill to swallow individually, so seeing them as a couple is a harmful, lethal pairing that should probably be avoided at all costs.
"You don't have to talk. Honestly, I'd be happier if you didn't." (Image Source)
If you're a sardonic, cold-hearted cynic like Frank and Lindsay from "Destination Wedding," you may eat up their bitterness and find them preaching to the choir. We personally send our regards, but would not attend this function. Though this film has few moments of charm and fun, these instances are too few and far between for us to recommend it.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~42%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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