The People We Hate at the Wedding simply does not have the bite and, oddly, quality the source material possesses.
We review the Prime Video film The People We Hate at the Wedding, which does not contain spoilers.
Raise your hand if you have watched a movie about a woman in her thirties who is sleeping with her boss, is married, and has a small child who swears he will leave his wife soon. Check. Raise your hand if you have seen a movie where a man treats his partner terribly and engages in a toxic relationship. Check again. Finally, let me see your hands if you have seen a movie where a woman was dumped by her ungrateful husband and struggles with closure. Yes, you manage to get all three classic tropes in one film. And rest assured, The People We Hate at the Wedding manages to fumble them all.
Well, at least the narrator ends the film honestly by saying no one lives happily ever after because they all become wormfood by the end. I can only assume Taco Bell because that product placement is all over England, making me think it must be the most popular fast-food franchise in the nation’s history. That’s because that is Eloise’s place when she seeks comfort. (Yes, you read that correctly). And she will need it with her family coming to town.
You have Alice (Kristen Bell), who invites her married boss (Jorma Taccone) to England for the nuptials. He bails, and she runs into a boyish-looking man, Dennis (Dustin Milligan), and they bond over Paddington. Paul is Alice’s Brother who will take his boyfriend, Dominic (Deadpool‘s Karan Soni), to the wedding. They are staying at Dominic’s friend’s place, a lothario named Alcott (Julian Ovenden), who Paul quickly realizes his partner is lusting for. They both are bitter and a little jealous of Eloise’s success and treat their mother, Donna (Allison Janney), poorly. Paul blames Donna for her father leaving. Meanwhile, Alice resents the marriage to Eloise’s father that fell apart, which took her sister away from her.
The People We Hate at the Wedding, directed by Claire Scanlon, is too scattershot and incredibly cliched. However, the main problem is this — it’s just not that funny. The dialogue is constantly aimed at continuously circling the drain around the three subplots. Nothing is so funny it raises above mildly humorous (if it even gets there). Nor do most of the one-liners work — they miss the mark by a wide margin besides some off-the-cuff remarks by Bell, and even those often feel pointed to the point of force.
The script by Wendy and Lizzie Molyneux was an adaptation of the Grant Ginder novel. The main issue is there are really no characters you care about. While the novel delicately unveils secrets that will eventually have you warm up to the cynical bunch, the film drops them on your head like cinderblocks with no warning or care. It’s such a strange experience that would have benefited as a straight romantic comedy with more time devoted to Milligan’s Dennis, who is charming and refreshing in limited screen time. The book had a bite and an oddly hopeful quality the film just doesn’t possess.
If only The People We Hate at the Wedding would “live mas” like its main product placement financier.
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