‘Tremendous bloke. Buggered me senseless. Still, it taught me about life…’
I’ve written before about my passion nay obsession with returning again and again to the ’90s. Whether that be to wistfully revisit old classics or to mono-maniacally seek out key films from that era that I haven’t already seen, I can often be seen strutting towards the well of ’90s cinema with a Yankees hat on backwards and a Walkman in my chubby hands.
Four Weddings and a Funeral is a weird one because it is one of the most successful British films of all time, it redefined the rom com and it made a star of Hugh Grant and yet, now it is almost as if this film doesn’t exist. You never see a Four Weddings meme do you. Richard Curtis’ other romantic comedy Love Actually has endured a lot more in terms of popular culture than Four Weddings has, and perhaps this is why it has taken me so long to see it.
The plotting is easy. Charles (Hugh Grant) and Carrie (Andie MacDowell) indulge all their selfish whims across five social events no matter how much it ruins everyone else’s life in the process. Love sure does make people into rude dickheads in these movies. A supporting cast of every British actor ever does a fine job of keeping things moving along nicely with Simon Callow seemingly playing himself and Rowan Atkinson perhaps providing the biggest laughs as a bumbling, inexperienced priest.
There are iconic moments here of course despite their seeming lack of impact on the internet age. The expletive ridden beginning, Atkinson’s hilarious wedding spiel, the stop all the clocks bit. These have become ingrained in British cinema history ever if you don’t know from which film they originate and this is kind of the problem for Four Weddings. It is so influential that watching it now with a fresh pair of eyes makes it seem horribly aged and old fashioned.
Having said that Grant is as funny and likeable as ever and Andie MacDowell brings a breezy levity as the object of his affections and the entire thing is a whole lot of meaningless fun. I will now have Wet Wet Wet’s hideous cover of Love is All Around in my head for the next six months but that is a small price to pay for a two hour diversion to my favourite decade.
One day, I will run out of ’90s films that I haven’t already seen. At that point I could either plunge further back into the annals of my childhood or actually start watching new films that aren’t made by Marvel or Pixar. Feels like an easy choice…