Love, Wedding, Marriage: I squished my fish…

Love, Wedding, Marriage – 2011

Directed by Dermot Mulroney
Starring Mandy Moore, Kellan Lutz, Jane Seymour, James Brolin, Christopher Lloyd,  Michael Weston, Jessica Szohr
Written by  Anouska Chydzik, Caprice Crane

I would like to say James Brolin is an idiot.  It’s really not too much of a stretch to say the guy who said “Happy 9/11” in a seemingly sober stupor on a radio show is missing a little bit in the common sense department.  Of course, he was smart enough to fool Barbara Streisand into marrying him, and has been living off of her ever since.  Lord knows if he was paid based on his acting talents, he’d be a poor man, indeed.  Here, for some reason, he is given a lot of lead rope (for a supporting role) by first time director Mulroney, and he nearly decapitates the movie.  A little dramatic, I know, but until you’ve seen him Karaoke, you’ve not known fear, desperation, anxiety and pain.  His version of acting seems to be going from drunkenly happy, to happy sober, to perplexed, to happy again.  Truly, when he says “I squished my fish…,” I hear it on many levels.

In Love, Wedding, Marriage, as protagonist Ava’s (Moore) father Bradley, Brolin is given considerable support in the dismantling of what could have been a decent movie.  Seymour, playing Betty, the mother, has lost most of her charisma after such a long career of Lifetime movies.  They have thrust themselves into the lives of Ava and her new husband, Charlie (Lutz), a mere 6 weeks after their marriage.

Ava is a marriage counselor, and supposedly dedicated to her craft, until she finds that her parents are opting for a divorce.  The reason is infidelity that occurred right around the conception of her younger sister Shelby (Szhor).  They hint very strongly that there is something more, this something being another sibling, conceived, you guessed it, around the same time as Shelby.  From here to there, we get to see Ava mess up her marriage in an attempt to jump start her parents’ marriage.  The things she tries should keep her from working as a psychologist again, but who’s counting, right?

Moore, for her part, has never been worse.  We rented this movie based on her ability to make bad material watchable (Because I Said So) and good material great (A Walk To Remember), and great material classic (Tangled).  Her delivery is somewhat disconnected from the reality of the situation, and who can blame her when her parents are acting like a couple of bad sitcom characters?  There seems to be a connection with Shelby, but only in the barest sense.  She and her husband, Charlie, seem to be on separate planets.  And those planents not Venus or Mars.

Lutz seems like a nice guy, but he can’t act.  At least not here.  His buddy, Weston (Gerber), is about the only well played character in the film.  His marriage to a Polish woman seems more rooted than anything else in this film, and they married after one date.

The premise is not horrible, and in the right hands, it could have been an excellent meditation on the role of trust in marriage.  Instead of taking any real stands, or going staying on the creative path they start with Lloyd’s unconventional therapeutic approach, they head right into physical comedy and sitcom white lies.  Lloyd is dropped for a series of other underdeveloped ideas until everything is crammed into a forced happy ending.

Which brings me back to Brolin.  He acts like he lives, seemingly, without a clue.  He’s like the cat that caught the canary while stuck in its cage.  He’s eating well for now, but unless he can get his corpulent acting ass out of that tiny entrance, he’s going to be stuck in there since, say, 1990.

(* out of *****)

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