A potentially interesting riff on Sliding Doors is wasted in this grindingly tedious rom-com, starring Sam Claflin and Olivia Munn
Thanks to Netflix, it couldn’t be easier to find the exact rom-com to best suit your mood. The company has been admirably committed to reviving the genre after it fell out of favour at the conventional box office, and have been rewarded with sky high viewing figures as a result. Strangely enough, though, this exact same strength is one of the biggest weaknesses inherent to latest offering Love, Wedding, Repeat: there are so many other options available that under no circumstances would this terrible farce seem like a good choice, even to the most ravenous rom-com addict.
There are few settings more tried and true for a romantic farce than a destination wedding, and it’s exactly here that Love, Wedding, Repeat makes its home. Unlucky in love Jack (Sam Claflin) is at his sister Hayley’s (Eleanor Tomlinson) wedding in a palatial Italian villa. He’s there to walk Hayley down the aisle, but he’s also hoping to reconnect with “one that got away” Dina (Olivia Munn) while avoiding the attentions of his hostile ex-girlfriend Amanda (Freida Pinto). Inevitably, it all goes to hell with the appearance of Hayley’s coked up ex, a cake-based disaster, and a misplaced spiked drink.
Things start poorly, the opening salvo of jokes missing the mark entirely and bad performances making themselves obvious pretty early on. Claflin and Munn have no real chemistry, Pinto is just horrible, and Tomlinson is given nothing to do except grimace for 90 minutes. The sheer extent to which things go wrong can be mildly amusing on the basis of its absurdity, but only enough to raise the occasional half smile.
Halfway through, Love, Wedding, Repeat makes a surprising left turn, justifying its Edge of Tomorrow-homaging title. Just as things reach their lowest point, Dean Craig’s film rewinds the clock to just before the start of the reception, and switches around the guest seating plan to see how the slightest of changes can have enormous ripple effects. It allows for a fun little interlude exploring every different possible combination and outcome, before settling on the “real” events for the third act.
It’s a welcome touch, adding an element of Sliding Doors to an otherwise very rote, wedding-set rom-com. But this intrigue soon fades as it becomes obvious that the script is stuck in the same unfunny rut as it was in the previous timeline. Even worse, it tries for real emotional climaxes for its woefully underwritten supporting cast. Suddenly we’re expected to care about the wellbeing of cyphers with no discernible characteristics beyond “boring” and “clingy” and “Italian.”
Every problem the characters encounter in Love, Wedding, Repeat could be solved by 30 seconds of conversation, which means that none of the conflict feels organic or necessary. And whilst some small amount of joy can be wrung from the film's beautiful Italian setting, there are plenty of travel documentaries available on Netflix offering similar pleasures. In other words, there's absolutely no reason to attend. RSVP “no thank you.”
Love, Wedding, Repeat is now streaming on Netflix.Where to watch