‘Destination Wedding’ gives lots of lines to Keanu and Winona and no one else
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“Some marriages work out.”
“Yes, and some people have six fingers.” – What passes for snappy repartee in “Destination Wedding.”
Here we are more than a quarter-century since Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves co-starred in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992) and a dozen years since they were in the rotoscope sci-fi thriller “A Scanner Darkly” (2006), and my goodness do the two of them look great in their third film together, the romantic comedy “Destination Wedding.”
They’re a combined 100 years old (with Keanu taking up 54 percent of the pie), and how can that even be?
It’s been great seeing Reeves absolutely killing it once again on the big screen in the “John Wick” movies, while Ryder has done some of the finest work of her career on the Netflix series “Stranger Things.”
So, they’ll be OK and their respective careers will keep humming along, even after they spend some 90 minutes yammering at one another and testing our patience in “Destination Wedding.”
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What a strange little movie this is, with Reeves and Ryder firing off one-liners and densely packed mini-monologues that often sound so “writerly” we can almost see the dialogue on the screen. This often feels like a two-character play — or a read-through of an early draft of a two-character play.
Reeves’ Frank and Ryder’s Lindsay meet at the airport, immediately rub each other the wrong way — and then discover they’re both on their way to a wedding in San Luis Obispo, California.
Turns out Frank’s brother, Keith the groom, was engaged to Lindsay six years ago, and she’s still stuck on Keith, whom she hasn’t seen since he ended it.
Of course, once we arrive at the cozy and quaint Apple Farm and Restaurant and Inn, Frank and Lindsay have been placed in adjoining rooms, and to their mutual chagrin, they’re paired together throughout the weekend, from the rehearsal dinner to some sort of wacky fun-‘n’-games outing where they’re encased in giant bouncing plastic bubble thingees to an excursion to a winery to the actual wedding.
Hmmm, do you think their feelings about one another will … evolve over the course of the weekend?
Sure enough, Frank and Lindsay begin to bond over their mutual resentment of Keith the groom, and their shared fondness for snarky commentary about whatever is transpiring in front of them.
Observing an older couple, Frank says, “I guess the heart wants what it wants,” to which Lindsay replies, “Or whatever the pacemaker says it can have.”
I can’t tell you anything about Keith the groom, or the bride, or anyone in the wedding party or for that matter anyone else in this movie, because we never hear from them or even see them in close-up.
Frank and Lindsay are the only characters who actually talk. Everyone else is just there to provide visual fodder for their running commentary.
Writer-director Victor Levin takes an interesting although ultimately tedious and distracting approach to nearly every scene. Many of the background players never move; they stand or sit in place, and they often seem oblivious to the presence of Frank and Lindsay. And even when Frank and Lindsay are talking quite loudly, e.g., during the wedding ceremony, heads do not turn in their direction.
This happened so many times, I began to think (with dread): Oh no, are they dead? Are they ghosts? Are they dead ghosts nobody can see? Is that the endgame here?
SPOILER ALERT: I’m almost positive they’re not quipping ghosts. They’re just two very attractive but not particularly interesting or likable people who sound like they had to memorize a lot of dialogue before they were thrust together by circumstance and screenplay.
Regatta presents a film written and directed by Victor Levin. Rated R (for language throughout and sexual content). Running time: 90 minutes. Opens Friday at AMC River East and on demand.