Movie #229 2020: Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

More rom-coms means more rom-coms, so don’t expect me to just forget about them here! Clearly what makes the most sense to follow up Notting Hill with is this one from the same writer; the beloved Richard Curtis.

Four Wedding and a Funeral actually hit screens five years before the aforementioned, but I’d heard that it wasn’t as good, so sue me. Like Notting Hill, this stars Hugh Grant in the main role, and once again, he falls under the spell of a charming American woman who crosses paths with by chance. Yes, sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? As you probably gathered, the lead character(s) attend four weddings and one funeral within the confines of the film, and this is the story about how the two leads (the female counterpart being played by Andie MacDowell) fall in love and end up crossing paths again and again.

Basically, Hugh Grant plays the same character as he always does. (Okay, Paddington 2 is the one exception.) And yes, he’s as average as he normally is, but Kristin Scott Thomas excels as per usual so that makes up for his mostly uninteresting character. That’s not to say that Grant is a terrible actor – far from it. He’s just been typecast into that slightly dopey, underachieving male love interest and he’s good at it.

Minus the use of Simon Callow, this one is sadly just not as funny as Notting Hill. It’s still entertaining and your attention is unlikely to drift throughout, but the story just doesn’t lend itself to humour quite so much. Again, I have to stress that it’s a different story when it comes to Callow, who is in a league of his own.

Technically, Four Weddings is as well made as Richard Curtis’ 1999 rom-com, but it falls short of it at almost every turn. There is far less chemistry between the two main characters (MacDowell does fine with what she has to work with, but she doesn’t shine quite as much as Julia Roberts), the story is weaker, there’s no proper build up of the central relationship other than the couple of dalliances they have beforehand… Unless you’re a sucker for a romantic comedy, I’d imagine you’d enjoy this about as much as I did, and by that, I mean it was just okay.

Quite annoyingly, this is a completely obvious story that doesn’t really feature any twists or turns. Although I was really pissed when I figured out whose funeral was going to take place… Do with that as you will. (This ended up actually being the best plot twist within the movie.)

Overall a well made film but it doesn’t have the sparkle that I was hoping for. It actually ended up being very average aside from the great casting choices, but still worth a watch if not only for a hint of nineties nostalgia.

Four Weddings and a Funeral is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

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