Tuesday, October 15, 2013
884. Muriel's Wedding (1994)
Running Time: 105 minutes
Directed By: P.J. Hogan
Written By: P.J. Hogan
Main Cast: Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Bill Hunter, Sophie Lee, Jeanie Drynan
Click here to view the trailer
NOTES FROM A NEWLY CONVERTED ABBA FAN
"You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, diggin' the dancing queen"
Man alive, did I love those ABBA tunes! The only previous exposure I'd had to ABBA was watching an very early episode of Saturday Night Live (one of the first five, I think) where they were the musical guest. Anyway, for the unaware, this film is jam packed with ABBA songs, but that's just the start of it.
Toni Collette is Muriel Heslop, an unemployed, overweight, wannabe bride from Porpoise Spit, Australia. The film starts with Muriel catching the flying bouquet at a wedding and only getting a moment to bask in the glory of it all, before her "friends" yank the flowers from her hand and give them to another, more popular friend, as we get a look at the pitiful world that Muriel exists in. Her father insists that she (and her four siblings) are useless and constantly berates them, on his way for running for public office. Muriel's mother is constantly in a daze, as she tries to stay afloat in a loveless marriage, that is being held together with scotch tape and dental floss. One day Muriel sees an opportunity to reinvent herself and begins with a vacation, where she runs into and reunites with former school chum, Rhonda (Griffiths). The two reconnect swimmingly and soon are inseparable. From there, Muriel changes her name to Mariel, moves to Sydney and drastically alters her appearance, beginning with a dash of self esteem, something that was seriously and blatantly lacking. Muriel gets a few dates, but the reinvention of her life is put on hold when Rhonda is diagnosed with cancer. Muriel spends her days taking care of Rhonda and her nights dreaming of an old fashioned, white wedding, while trying to avoid her parents who want her to return home.
You know, I really liked this, but I also had some issues with it that I want to take care of first. Let's start with the fact that the film doesn't seem to know whether it wants to be a comedy or a drama and constantly switches gears throughout the duration of the movie. The film also incorporates about two too many subplots and by the time the end rolls around, it's almost inevitable that a loose end will be left untied. Not only do you have the central plot of Muriel's life reinvention in Sydney, but you also have Rhonda's cancer, Bill's political scandal, Muriel's family and the wreckage of their home life, Muriel's impending and eventual nuptials to David and Bryce, who is shown to some dramatic effect near the end, but nothing ever happens with him. I have to tell you it felt like a great foundation that needed just a bit of tweaking to be made flawless. I could have done without the mother's suicide and the sudden change in heart of Muriel's father, a character development that seemed flat out unnatural and forced for the sake of a happier ending. It just seemed like the film had a mild case of ADD and couldn't keep it's focus straight and in my opinion, it only hindered the flow of an otherwise fine film.
However, a mainly interesting and inspiring central plot, coupled with the outstanding work of Toni Collette (who is fast becoming a favorite of mine) makes this a win, in my book. I watched about forty-five minutes of this last night and then had to stop & catch some sleep and honestly, I couldn't wait to get home tonight and finish it off. Despite being foreign, the atmosphere seemed oddly familiar and the film DID take the rom-com genre, mixed in a few special ingredients and presented us something with a kick. Little girls who grew up to be wannabe brides are going to go gaga for this, as are die hard ABBA fans (the films soundtrack is comprised exclusively of ABBA tunes) and anyone with a soft heart, who enjoys squirting a few tears when they watch movies. Check it out, I highly doubt you'll be disappointed, as there's a little something for everybody.
RATING: 7/10 The problems I spoke of hitched this one up a bit, but a '7' is nothing to sneeze at and considered a part of that upper echelon of really good - amazing movies.
MOVIES WATCHED: 743
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 258
October 15, 2013 11:29pm
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