In a romantic comedy, any handsome British actor can most likely coast alongside on his attraction and accent and manners. However to do what Hugh Grant did within the ’90s — to make you imagine that for all his cultivation and civilized intercourse enchantment, he lives inside a spectacular thicket of self-doubt that’s much more enchanting than pure confidence…effectively, that takes a real actor, and perhaps a star. And that’s the standard Sam Claflin has within the minor however fascinating “Love Wedding ceremony Repeat.” He performs Jack, who spends his sister’s wedding ceremony making an attempt to place out a dozen fires without delay (and to woo the love of his life, who he might by no means see once more). To say that the character is working additional time to carry himself collectively can be an understatement. He’s exquisitely flummoxed.
On the outset we hear a narrator, who sounds just like the ribald model of a “Masterpiece Theatre” host (to my ears it seemed like Judi Dench, although there’s no itemizing within the credit), as she gives up cynical bites of knowledge like “One little bit of unhealthy luck, and all of it goes tits up.” It, on this case, being life.
The opening sequence is ready in Rome, the place Jack has simply been proven across the metropolis by his sister’s pal, an American conflict journalist named Dina (Olivia Munn). As their second of farewell approaches, they seem like warming as much as a primary kiss, however they’re interrupted by a pushy former faculty chum of Jack’s who gives to take him to the airport. And Jack is so good and well mannered that he can’t nudge the dude away; he blows his large second. In motion pictures, this type of “Fast, name the life coach!” ineptitude is usually a humorous factor, however when the comedy of romantic anxiousness approaches the edge of ache, it’s no mere laughing matter. Claflin, on this position, reveals Grant’s capability to maintain a scene of stammering geekishness gentle and bubbly and, on the identical time, honest.
Three years later, the movie cuts to a sun-drenched Roman villa the place Haley (Eleanor Tomlinson), Jack’s peachy-sweet and frazzled sister, is marrying Roberto (Tiziano Caputo), a courtly Italian who’s elegant with a contact of thriller, like a lacking Corleone brother. The remainder of the movie is ready on the wedding ceremony reception, an idealized afternoon it views as a roving microcosm of human foible and folly. Dina is there, so Jack will get one other probability to attach together with her. They’ve each had failed relationships in between, and given how they melted collectively earlier than, you suppose: What might go mistaken? The reply, after all, is all the things. But the quirky class of “Love Wedding ceremony Repeat” is that it retains the mishaps flowing in a life-size method.
The author-director, Dean Craig, has written and produced episodes of reveals like “Hit the Street” and “Off the Hook,” however that is his first time directing, and he’s received a spry and glancing champagne contact, a method of crafting scenes that go proper to your head. “Love Wedding ceremony Repeat” is a unfastened riff on the 2012 French film “Plan de Desk,” and it unfolds, roughly, in actual time, which provides it an existential comedy-of-suspense factor that trumps the standard Styrofoam rom-com plotting. The classical music taking part in within the background doesn’t make the movie stodgy; it creates a sustained operatic stream.
And the actors are merely terrific, from Claflin, who manages to be all-thumbs neurotic and matinee-idol dashing on the identical time, to Olivia Munn, who knocks dialogue backwards and forwards with ping-pong timing whilst she summons the ravishing glamour of Sophia Loren, to Joel Fry, who performs Haley’s “man of honor” Bryan as a gangly soul who’s like Kramer from “Seinfeld” crossed with Hamlet, to Eleanor Tomlinson because the bride who’s all however quivering with the key that would smash her life, to Jack Farthing because the coked-up stalker who reveals as much as spill it, to Freida Pinto as Jack’s imperious sharp-tongued ex to Allan Mustafa as her dull-witted music-producer boyfriend (whose obsession with the dimensions of his genitals is a farce that’s additionally a campaign), to Tim Key as a kilt-wearing car-insurance salesman whose cluelessness with the women is matched solely by his confidence.
The film, even because it percolates with romantic hope, turns right into a slow-motion chain response of catastrophe. All of it emerges from the glitch that takes place when Haley orders Jack to spike a champagne flute with a robust sleeping sedative, in order that Marc the stalker received’t spill the beans on the truth that he and Haley shagged a couple of weeks in the past. However the mistaken particular person will get drugged, and the remainder is (farcical) distress.
That’s, till the film, midway by means of, pushes reset. It performs out the identical wedding ceremony state of affairs another time, solely with a special particular person — on this case, Jack — getting drugged. Sure, it’s certainly one of these motion pictures. However we haven’t had a superb one shortly, and “Love Wedding ceremony Repeat” returns us to the fanciful confectionary ’90 vibe of “Sliding Doorways” and “Serendipity” and “Run Lola Run,” during which tiny occasions set off erupting particle chains of destiny. For a bit, the second state of affairs appears to be like much more hapless than the primary (it kicks off with Dina catching Jack within the males’s room in probably the most hilariously compromising of positions). However that’s all intentional. “Love Wedding ceremony Repeat” is about life’s method of snatching triumph from the jaws of desperation. It’s additionally about Jack studying to not be such a pleasant man. When he lastly casts off his straitjacket of beautiful British manners, you’ll need to applaud.