Memorial Day: All Wedding Movies, All the Time

I’ve gotten to the age where long weekends are usually accompanied by weddings. This weekend, I got to see two friends tie the knot at an amazingly cool venue in Brooklyn (otherwise I’d so be on them to submit their photos to the Westchester WeddingsWedding of the Month” blog).

It’s fitting because, for pre-festivities entertainment, this weekend, there were no fewer than four wedding-related movies in theaters. And, though it’s long documented that wedding movies are mostly awful, some of these either got good critical reviews and/or made a ton of box-office cash. (Some.) Let’s take a look, from biggest blockbuster to quietest release.

The Hangover Part II
Opening-Weekend Box Office Gross: $86 million
Metacritic Score: 44
What Critics Are Saying: “If you superimposed a diagram that mapped out all the narrative beats, characters, and jokes in ‘The Hangover Part II‘ over one for ‘The Hangover,’ the two would align almost perfectly.”—Manohla Dargis, the New York Times
The Deal: Okay, so this is not necessarily all about the wedding. There’s a groom, sure, and a bride, but it’s not all about shopping for the poufy white dress—meaning you can take a dude who couldn’t care less about wedding movies. That’s probably why, despite middling critic reviews, The Hangover Part II is the highest grossing R-rated film in its first five days.

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Opening-Weekend Box Office Gross: $26 million
Metacritic Score: 75
What Critics Are Saying: “It’s no surprise that Bridemaids sputters, coughs, and lurches, but it’s a winning shambles, buoyed by a sharp, balanced, comedic ensemble and some truthful observations about how close friends adapt when their lives fall out of step.”—Scott Tobias, the A.V. Club
The Deal: It’s fitting that Bridesmaids and The Hangover Part II are side-by-side in multiplexes, because Bridesmaids is pretty much a direct response to comedies that don’t give women any of the punch lines. Here, though there are a few funny male performances, the ladies are the ones who bring home the big laughs. And, though it may not have made as much money as its male-centric counterpart, it got better views and inspired a wave of trend pieces about the need for women in comedy, which can’t be a bad thing.

Jumping the Broom
Opening-Weekend Box Office Gross: $15 million
Metacritic Score: 56
What Critics Are Saying: “No one tries to break the mold here; the cultural jokes, Mars/Venus conflicts and last-minute revelations come just as we expect. Still, most of the actors dig deeper than such a traditional date night film demands.”—Elizabeth Weitzman, the New York Daily News
The Deal: Though not too out-of-the-wedding-movie box, Jumping the Broom distinguishes itself by focusing on the class differences between in-laws in an extended African American family. The movie was produced by pastor T.D. Jakes, a writer and producer of movies with a spiritual bent, so this movie reaches out to a few niche audiences looking for wedding movies about something other than blondes pining over each other’s fiancées.

Something Borrowed
Opening-Weekend Box Office Gross: $14 million
Metacritic Score: 36
What Critics Are Saying: “This relatively charmless adaptation centers on the relatable-enough panic of watching one’s ideal partner tie the knot with the wrong person, but ditches all the elements that link the premise to real life, skidding off into irreconcilable differences long before the wedding.”—Peter Debruge, Variety
The Deal: Something Borrowed uses the playbook of pretty much every wedding movie ever. And we all know how good typical wedding movies are, right? As a result, neither audiences nor critics were particularly charmed.

Bridesmaids photo credit: Suzanne Hanover. © 2011 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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