Netflix’s latest romantic comedy Love Wedding Repeat is about the unpredictable path of fate. How one altered detail can completely rewrite the future – it’s possible at-home viewers will be reminded of 2004’s The Butterfly Effect. Making a parallel connection with the present, fate seems to be cutting me a break. Love Wedding Repeat has found its way to me after I survived Netflix’s Coffee & Kareem. Maybe if I didn’t watch that horrendous comedy, I wouldn’t have seen one of the best rom-coms in years.
Love Wedding Repeat mainly works because of its memorable characters and knockout cast. The direction and adapted screenplay (both by Death at a Funeral screenwriter Dean Craig) help guide the movie towards its laughs and heart, but the film’s ensemble are the collective key towards this farce’s success.
At his sister’s wedding, Jack (Sam Claflin of Me Before You and The Nightingale) is reunited with the past when Dina (Mortdecai’s Olivia Munn) shows up as a guest. They had a love connection years ago that was snuffed out because the timing wasn’t right. Now, their both single and more than willing to mingle. That is until Jack is recruited by sister Hayley (Eleanor Tomlinson) to be a secret saboteur for unwanted (and unhinged) wedding crasher Marc (Jack Farthing). Meanwhile, other guests bring their own baggage including an awkward friend who steamrolls every conversation with useless trivia about his co-workers and an aspiring actor looking to get the attention of a filmmaker, along with Jack’s bitter ex and her current fiancé who is obsessively fixated on his sexual reputation. It’s a recipe of disaster, especially when all of the mentioned guests are assigned to the same dining table.
Claflin makes a remarkable flex from The Nightingale’s cold-hearted killer to a genial romantic lead, headlining this comedy with a character the audience genuinely likes. Aside from Munn’s Dina who is just as appealing, the supporting actors do a great job defining their charismatic, social nuisances. The mix-up of a powerful sedative (that Hayley wants to use on Marc) results in hilarious results as the wrong people digest it and fight the urge to faint and fall asleep.
Partway through Love Wedding Repeat, the concept of fate is reintroduced as a primary factor in the story through the source of a mouthy narrator. Granted, I forgot this angle since I became more interested in the characters, but writer/director Craig does a good job reintegrating this idea into the movie. It’s a bit jarring at first considering the film comes to a complete stop to play around with alternate timelines before settling on a final thread to finish the story. However, because movie goers are naturally attracted to these unsophisticated characters, viewers will allow themselves to flow with the film because we want to see what happens to these people through different outcomes and variables.
Love Wedding Repeat is a terrific return to form for screwball comedy and will, hopefully, lead as a bellwether for romantic comedies.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie