Wedding Daze

(2007) * R
90 min. MGM Distribution Company. Director: Michael Ian Black. Cast: Jason Biggs, Isla Fisher, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Consuelos, Chris Diamantopoulos.

/content/films/4232/1.jpgComic actor Michael Ian Black has a devoted cult following (and goodwill within the comedy world) from his work with the comedy groups The State and Stella. So when Black lined up his feature-film writing-directing debut, it's easy to see why many would be curious to see the result. Unfortunately, the result was a fizzle, changing its name twice (other titles: The Pleasure of Your Company and The Next Girl I See) as it limped its way toward a direct-to-DVD release.

While Wedding Daze is something of a train wreck, it's also clear that it's the product of a comic sensibility, rather than a generic rom-com failure. And so comedy scavengers may find it worthwhile to pick through the remains for a few amusing gags. Black proceeds from a somewhat promising rom-com conceit: what if two total strangers, on a whim, decided to get married? That's exactly what happens when Anderson (Jason Biggs)—still smarting from a failed marriage proposal to the presumed love of his life—heeds the advice of his friend Ted (Michael Weston) and moves on, by spontaneously proposing to his waitress at a local diner. That'd be Katie (Isla Fisher), a flibbertigibbet whose beauty belies her quirkiness. As the two sort out the details of their suddenly conjoined lives, eternal straight-man Biggs reacts to a coterie of weirdos (Katie's friends and her jailbird father, played by Joe Pantoliano) and his own oversexed parents (Emmy winners Edward Herrmann and Margo Martindale).

Wedding Daze is at its best when Black lets himself be Black, inserting deadpan absurdities into the proceedings (as when a scene wraps up with a character named Matador exclaiming, "I've killed this fellow! I've killed this fellow with my car! Not again."). Biggs does his Biggs thing (your mileage with him may vary), and Fisher goes for the gusto with a likeably energetic performance that positions Katie as a lovable eccentric. But I'd be lying if I said Wedding Daze is anything but entirely flimsy. Black's aggressive irony doesn't make lame gags and situations any less lame—okay, maybe a little less, but you know what I mean. The most memorable moments in Wedding Daze are memorable for all the wrong reasons: as gross-outs, cheap sex jokes, or embarrassments to the two leads, both of whom undress for their art. It seems unlikely that Black will be getting a second chance behind a movie camera.

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Aspect ratios: 1.85:1

Number of discs: 1

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Street date: 7/5/2011

Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

MGM dumps Wedding Daze onto Blu-ray with a hi-def transfer that's at least a leap up from standard definition (but if a tree falls in a forest...?). Color is a bit dull (perhaps true to the source?) and the picture quality is generally inconsistent, with noise cropping up from time to time and detail only occasionally pleasing (plus there's a bit of telecine wobble, which seems odd for a film of such recent vintage). So the picture isn't exactly anything to write home about, and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mixcomes close to false advertising, with almost every decibel emanating from the front while rear channels take an extended nap. Standard-def bonus features on this Blu-ray—amounting to about five minutes—include "Deleted Scenes" and an "Alternate Opening." I'm betting a commentary with Black would've been pretty interesting, but we're out of luck there.

Review gear:
Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 55" Plasma 1080p 3D HDTV
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
Denon AVR2112CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR Bookshelf Speaker (2)
Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker
Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer

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