The title gives fair warning. If you watch this movie, you’re in for an absolute, unmitigated, cringe-inducing, “WHAT IN GOD’S NAME WERE THEY THINKING?” disaster.
“Love, Weddings & Other Disasters” reminded me of the late Garry Marshall’s star-studded, sugar-sweet, harmlessly mediocre, holiday-themed anthology comedy/dramas such as “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve” and “Mother’s Day,” but at least those films were competently shot and edited and would occasionally feature a compelling storyline and some solid acting.
Saban Films presents a film written and directed by Dennis Dugan. Rated PG-13 (for crude sexual material and some strong language). Running time: 95 minutes. Available Friday on demand.
We don’t get any of that from this stink bomb. This movie is so crudely filmed, so terribly framed, so poorly written, so stunningly unfunny, it makes “New Year’s Eve” look like a masterpiece.
You want to talk tone-deaf? In this Boston-set ensemble comedy chronicling multiple and sometimes overlapping storylines in the days leading up to a lavish marriage reception, Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons plays Lawrence, a famous and notoriously meticulous caterer whose idea of upper-crust taste includes a tower of champagne glasses and neatly arranged bowls of wrapped candies, which sounds like something you’d see at a stripper’s bachelorette party and not the wedding of the year. It’s been years since Lawrence even considered romance, but he’s been fixed up on a blind date with Academy Award winner Diane Keaton’s Sara, who is actually blind.
Get it? It’s a BLIND DATE.
Making matters worse, Sara (who is a photographer, I kid you not) is incapable of navigating a room without knocking things over, with no help from her guide dog, who is terrible at his job. In what passes for a back story in this movie, we learn Sara began to lose her vision when she was 20. So, for some 50 years, she has just careened about in this grotesquely slapstick manner? Huh?
Making matters even worse, after Lawrence and Sara spend the night together, Lawrence wakes up, rearranges the furniture (he’s either a sadist or a moron) and leaves her a note. Leaves. Her. A. Note. “I’ve fallen in love with the dumbest man in history,” laments Sara. No, you’ve just fallen into one of the dumbest movies in history.
Meanwhile, Maggie Grace’s Jessie bumbles about in adorable fashion while planning the wedding of a Boston mayoral candidate Robert Barton (Dennis Staroselsky), who is stressing out because his dopey brother Jimmy (Andy Goldenberg) is a contestant on “Crash Couples,” a reality game show in which he is shackled to a Russian woman named Svetlana (Melinda Hill), who claims to be a lawyer but is actually a stripper and has a mob boss for a manager.
About that game show: The smarmy host is played by Dennis Dugan, who is the director and writer of this film and whose previous work includes some of Adam Sandler’s best movies (“Happy Gilmore,” “Big Daddy”) and some of Sandler’s worst movies ( “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan,” “Jack and Jill.”) We’re told “Crash Couples” is a big hit, but the set looks like something your kid put together in the basement, and the premise of shackling mismatched strangers together to see who can last the longest and win a million dollars is offensively stupid. (Jimmy and Svetlana are competing against an extremely tall woman who has been paired with a little person; a scowling, muscle-bound white guy in a cutoff flannel shirt who is teamed with a Black woman who looks terrified when they’re introduced, and Habib who is Arabic and David who is a Hasidic Jew, and that’s always good for some laughs, right?)
Other low-grade sitcom stories revolve around a tour boat guide (Andrew “King Bach” Bachelor) who becomes obsessed with finding a passenger who captured his heart, and a bar band musician (Diego Boneta) who is hired by Jessie to play in the aforementioned wedding and finds himself falling for her. Spoiler alert: There’s a decent chance everyone is going to wind up on the dance floor at that wedding, shimmering and shaking with the glow of love and unaware this is really a disaster.