Sometimes a movie’s title says it all. And other times, it suggests a film that does its job too well. In the case of Love, Weddings & Other Disasters, by the time you’ve endured this brutal heartbreak of a rom-com you’ll question whether love truly exists, will never want to attend another wedding in your life, and will have experienced a cinematic disaster that makes Garry Marshall’s holiday-themed comedies resemble masterpieces.
To gauge the level of “humor” you’ll be contending with here; the film begins with wedding planner Jessie (Maggie Grace, one of the few charming notes) being dropped by her fiance while parachuting, so she quite literally drops him into the lake near an actual wedding, earning the nickname “The Wedding Trasher.” Diane Keaton comes crashing into the film as a blind woman named Sara, who is on a BLIND date with Jeremy Irons’ stick-up-the-butt caterer Lawrence. Internet personality turned so-called actor Andrew Bachelor is a bus tour captain who obnoxiously wades through every woman in town to find one he fell in love with after flirting with her for about a minute. Oh, and she’s got a Cinderella slipper tattooed on her neck, in case the parallels weren’t obvious enough. Jessie is hired to plan a wedding for Boston mayoral candidate Robert (Dennis Staroselsky), but he’s embarrassed by his goofy brother Jimmy (Andy Goldenberg) who is on a shock reality game show where he must be chained to Svetlana (Melinda Hill), a lawyer/stripper with a questionable Russian accent and ties to the mob.
These pathetically-written, excruciating tales are the brainspawn of writer/director Dennis Dugan, who is responsible for a good share of Adam Sandler’s worst offenses. He’s got so many Razzies nominations to his credit they ought to consider giving him a category all to himself. In a just world, Love, Weddings & Other Disasters would earn him about a dozen more. It’s rare to find a rom-com so lacking in ANY romance and comedy, and manages to diminish two screen legends like Keaton and Irons? Well, let me take that back. Keaton has long since embraced her flighty public persona with roles that make her look like a dimwit, but Irons is clearly baffled that this is the sort of thing he’s doing now. Sometimes, like in a ridiculous scene where Lawrence irrationally rearranges Sara’s furniture and leaves her a love note (a reminder, she is BLIND), he appears to be choking on the awful dialogue.
Dugan, perhaps having grown comfortable directing so many of Sandler’s lazy paid vacations, makes no attempt to make Boston a part of the story. This could’ve been set pretty much anywhere, as long as that place resembled a cut scene from a bad cable sitcom. The presence of a pair of songbird buskers (including Elle King, daughter of Dugan pal Rob Schneider) adds a dose of local flavor, I suppose, but they’re forgettable enough to easily fit into a big celebratory performance that brings all of the characters together. In a better film, this would be the moment to recognize how love affects people of many different stripes. But for Love, Weddings & Other Disasters it’s a reminder that we should’ve broken up with this film before it even got started.