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aka - Wedding Party,The
Australia 1997
Directed by
Cherie Nowlan
91 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Thank God He Met Lizzie

If you were given a DVD of this movie as a gift with your subscription to Cosmopolitan or some such glossy woman's magazine you'd probably largely enjoy it. As a theatrical release it's a testing time, a look at the realities of love for the mature single couched in the format of the romantic comedy. Unfortunately, despite its title it's no When Harry Met Sally, and if its supposedly painfully funny situations and colourful characters are over-familiar, the main problem is that there is no development of the core relationship, that of He (Guy, played by Richard Roxburgh) and Lizzie (Cate Blanchett).

Most of the quality time is given over to Guy's nostalgia for his now dead-and-buried relationship with the irresistible but challenging Jenny (Frances O'Connor). Here emerges a second problem, the film is effectively split between Guy's two relationships. Had there been some interaction between the two women it might have come to life.

Although the film does pick up in the latter stages as we get to the break-up between Guy and Jenny, with Ms O'Connor doing an excellent job of bringing her character home, Cate Blanchett throughout the film has very little to do, her character is vague-to-improbable, there is no evident basis for her choice of Guy (nor, given his blandness, his appeal to Jenny), let alone their marriage, which seems a combination of ruthless efficiency (Lizzie) and spineless resignation (Guy) - hardly the stuff of a successful romantic comedy. Even the film itself ends on an downbeat note.

Perhaps that is life according to writer Alexandra Long and first-feature director Nowlan but I wager that the audience for this film will want something more. Richard Roxburgh is, as always, good value but a more obviously photogenic actor like Guy Pearce would have been better in the part whilst Claudia Karvan would have provided a much better balance than Ms Blanchett's decorative presence. Whether the film would have been any more commendable as a result is another matter.




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