Review: ‘The People We Hate At The Wedding’

Kristen Bell, Allison Janney and Ben Platt Star In A Mediocre Wedding Comedy

Weddings and holidays bring out the worst in people, so it makes perfect sense that Amazon Studios’ latest release for the Christmas season follows one family with good intentions completely ruining someone’s nuptials. Starring Kristen Bell, Ben Platt, and Allison Janney, The People We Hate At The Wedding tries to be a quippy, modern romantic comedy and fails to find its characters as three-dimensional. 

Janney plays matriarch Donna, a recent widow and mother to adult children Alice (Kristen Bell) and Paul (Ben Platt) from her second marriage, and Eloise (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) from her first. Her children are scattered across the world, each carrying their secrets. Alice is recovering from a miscarriage and sleeping with her married boss in order to cope. Paul is stuck in a relationship with the pompous Dominic and at a job he hates. He resents his mother for moving too quickly from his father’s death. 

Getting married is Eloise, the picture-perfect sister from Donna’s first marriage to a wealthy Frenchman. Alice and Paul resent Eloise as she did not support the former during her miscarriage. As each family member travels to London with their literal and figurative baggage, passive aggression drives them to get through the weekend. 

The director is Claire Scanlon, well-known in the tv world for directing pretty much every single sitcom you can think of. Based on Grant Ginder’s 2016 novel, the film’s weakest aspects can be found in Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin’s script. While the characters are not caricatures, they are not fully realized. Their relationships are there for the drama and are not resolved in a satisfying way. The snappy dialogue works otherwise. 

Claire Scanlon, well-known in the tv world for directing pretty much every single sitcom you can think of, makes good use of her cast’s expert comedic timing. Bell knows how to play snarky while Janney plays the doting middle-aged mother well. Scanlan does bring in notable stars like Randall Park and Tony Goldwin for a one-liner, which feels more random than funny. 

The reason to keep watching is Dustin Milligan’s Dennis, Bell’s love interest who she meets on the plane. Bringing main character energy and oodles of charm, Milligan is a joy to watch and genuinely funny. 

If you like romcoms, The People We Hate At The Wedding is a solid choice. Though mostly forgettable, the snappy dialogue and talented supporting cast make the wedding drama bearable.

Streaming now on Prime Video.

'The People We Hate At The Wedding'
A D.C area native, Cortland has been interested in media since birth. Taking film classes in high school and watching the classics with family instilled a love of film in Cortland’s formative years. Before graduating with a degree in English and minoring in Film Study from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Cortland ran the college’s radio station, where she frequently reviewed films on air. She then wrote for another D.C area publication before landing at Punch Drunk Critics. Aside from writing and interviewing, she enjoys podcasts, knitting, and talking about representation in media.