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The Queeriew Mirror: The Perfect Wedding

Spoiler Alert: This review contains spoilers for the 2012 movie The Perfect Wedding, not that the movie isn’t predictable enough that you couldn’t have guessed what might happen anyway.

I have a fairly high tolerance of and appreciation for cheesiness in general, and specifically in movies. I am also not a particularly harsh critic. It takes a lot for me to say a movie was bad and even more to say the acting was bad. So I think it says something when I say The Perfect Wedding is the worst movie I have ever watched repeatedly.

To be clear, I love the movie. That’s why I watch it over and over again. The story is sweet and I enjoy the characters and the romance. But me loving it doesn’t make it a better movie than it is.

I think it is all in the dialogue. “Show don’t tell” is one of the most basic, consistently repeated instructions for creative writing I have ever heard, but the movie’s writers somehow seemed to miss it. Every single piece of information you learn about all of the characters and all of the backstory and all of the plot is put into the mouth of one of the characters and spoken as dialogue. The predictability, melodrama, and cheesiness can all be forgiven as typical of the romance genre, but the stilted dialogue that ensures that every detail of the film is so obvious that no one could possibly be confused tips the film from mediocre romance to bad movie very, very quickly.

And I still love it.  There really is no accounting for taste.  Sometimes it is nice to watch something that is utterly sweet and brainless.

Despite its general fluffiness, the movie does bring up two serious issues: alcoholism and Alzheimer’s. However, its treatment of the issues fails to add much real depth to the film. Paul, the recovering alcoholic, has been sober for eighteen months and he goes to AA meetings, works, has the support of family and friends and never actually seems to be struggling with his alcoholism. Gavin, his romantic interest, had an alcoholic father who also managed to get sober before he died and that experience made Gavin understanding of Paul’s struggle instead of scaring him away, making Gavin unbelievably well-adjusted and alcoholism seem like not such a big deal.

The issue of Alzheimer’s gives the movie all the depth it has, but it only portrays a surface view of the fear, pain, and trauma that go along with memory loss. Meryl, wife Richard and mother of Paul and Alana, is afraid that her husband will forget her and their adopted children, forget that he loves her. A central plotline of the film revolves around her determination to make Alana’s marriage to her fiancé Kirk the biggest wedding ever so Richard can’t possibly forget it, even though Alana and Kirk just want a small wedding. This leads to the sweet scene, one of my favorites, in which Richard tells Meryl, “They haven’t invented a disease that will make me forget you, or Paul, or Alana, or how much I love all of you. Maybe my body will stop working, maybe even my mind, but my heart… Alzheimer’s isn’t going to touch my heart.” He goes on to say, “You know what we have? We have right now. Not Christmas Past, not Christmas Future, Christmas Present. And right now, I think Christmas Present seems pretty good.” And the fear, pain, and trauma around Alzheimer’s is thereby neatly resolved, just in time for Alana and Kirk’s perfect, small wedding.

One plus side of the movie is that it is set around Christmas, but other than the decorating of a Christmas tree, the hanging of greenery throughout a large house and a couple mentions of gifts, it has nothing to do with Christmas. It is set somewhere in the southeast, maybe Florida, and there is no snow; the characters go around in short sleeves and sometimes shorts or light weight skirts.  So it allows you to pretend to be festive and Christmasy while really just watching your typical romance.

If you are looking for a Christmas movie that has nothing to do with Christmas, something sweet and insubstantial and gay to curl up in front of on a cold winter evening, and can tolerate bad, stilted dialogue, The Perfect Wedding is the perfect movie for you.  If not, you should probably skip it.

Happy holidays!  May you all survive them unscathed!

Queerview Mirror is a semi-regular feature where Queereka contributors review a variety of media. Look for Queerview Mirror posts on Friday afternoons.

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Ser is asexual, on the aromantic spectrum, gender-questioning, and atheist. They recently graduated from the University of Montana with a BA in Environmental Studies with a focus on nature writing. They love to read, write, play ultimate frisbee, cook, hike, row and cross country ski.

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