Destination Wedding is the first rom-com that had me rooting for the stars’ continued celibacy and hoping they won’t procreate.
You can tell when a romantic-comedy is going to crash, and crash badly. It’s the moment when the couple meets, and two can things can happen: The first is when the chemistry can be undeniable between the two, or the amount of irritable tension between them is apparent. Either can work, but the next step sets the tone, and if the chemistry or tension is forced upon the two in an unnatural way, the genre comes crashing down like a house of cards. The tension in Destination Wedding is poured on in mere seconds, forced squabbling about utter nonsense, so much so, I was hoping when Frank (Keanu Reeves looking like John Wick took a holiday) and Lindsey (Winona Ryder) board the flight, the plane would crash and burn before landing, turning this full-length feature into a short film.
This is not a Sam & Dianne-type romance, as Frank and Lindsey’s squabbles aren’t entertaining, but grating. Yes, they have a lot in common and talk about it endlessly, I imagine in the same kind of way Hitler and Mussolini would bond over bitching about the Allied powers. They both hate the parties involved in the wedding. They can’t stand the groom, the bride, even complaining about the venue itself. The long talks turn into long walks, while the squabbles, oh the endless squabbles, turn more petty and bitter as the day grows old. When they leave the wedding, then take a walk through the hills of a winery, they talk about each other’s unplanned and lengthy celibacy, then inexplicably run across a mountain lion. They scare it off in the most annoying way possible, which leads to one of the very overtly awkward sex scenes in recent film history. So, you know, it’s got that going for it.
Destination Wedding could have just been named When Awful, Bitter, Self-Righteous, Lonely, Arrogant Gas-Bags Who Settle for Each Other When No One Else in their Right Mind Would Have Them. Victor Levin’s comedy(?) film is less than 90 minutes, and it honestly feels longer. Considering the talents involved, mainly the cast, it’s hard to believe they felt they had comedy gold on their hands. They tried something different, trying to set up uncheerful people to couple up, lost and lost badly.
Thinking back to that mountain lion, I wish it would have had another chance to permanently set their continued celibacy streak in stone and end any speculation there might be a sequel.
M.N. Miller has been a film and television writer for Ready Steady Cut since August of 2018 and is patiently waiting for the next Pearl Jam album to come out.