Thoughts on Destination Wedding (2018)

It’s with the heaviest of hearts that I regretfully inform you of the sad fact that Destination Wedding (2018), the “definitely not a rom-com” rom-com starring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder, is not a good film. The story of two misanthropes who find themselves at the same destination wedding and hating every second of it, it sacrifices almost everything for the sake of a farce that it can’t quite pull off due to its (reluctant) commitment to the rom-com genre’s plot points—and as I pointed out before, caring too much about plot is the Achilles’ heel of farce.

The only good things about the film are the actors in their wardrobe (Jaralin Detienne, Gabriela Diaque, Emily Gray) and makeup (Ilka Monforte) and, possibly, the script as written text; writer-director Victor Levin’s dialogue has zingers galore, but there’s no breathing room for them to hit the recipient, let alone the audience. And by making the film consist entirely of dialogue scenes, he precludes the possibility of any other aspect of the film shining out.

Good thing we have Noni and Keanu! Putting them side by side is extremely interesting. Like the two leads of Clouds of Sils Maria (2014), they each have a different acting style: Keanu, playing a maddeningly consistent misanthrope, delivers his sometimes quite complex lines calmly, forcefully, and with minimal body language, whereas Winona is exceedingly expressive as a heartbroken romantic optimist. Honestly, I had the best viewing experience when listening to the former while looking at the latter. Here’s hoping that they partner again, next time for worthier material.

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