A wedding is something that rarely goes according to plan. Maybe a relative drinks too much, or the food is cold. Perhaps it’s rain that threatens the occasion. One thing you can usually rely on is the generosity and kindness of your friends. That is, of course, unless you happen to be going to Richard’s Wedding. The latest film from director Onur Tukel, Richard’s Wedding offers up the most dysfunctional group of friends that has ever graced the big screen. Alex (Jennifer Prediger) and Tuna (Onur Tukel) meet up with old friends attending Richard’s wedding in Central Park. As rain, egos, and general nuisances threaten the vows, the guests begin to wonder if the wedding will actually happen.
It is impossible to not compare this film to the work of Kevin Smith. The film is basically an extended conversation between the few guests that are attending the wedding. The only real difference between Tukel’s work and Smith’s is the fact that Richard’s Wedding tends to be a lot more mature. That might set some people’s minds at ease since crude humour isn’t a favorite for everyone, but it’s also a problem in this film. Smith’s work is frequently out of control, a fact that Richard’s Wedding is missing. Until the guests actually arrive at the wedding, there is a huge lack of insanity, something that the latter half of the film benefits from.
A very large portion of the film consists of conversation that seems focused on general complaining. It tends to get irritating after awhile, especially since it seems like nobody has any reason to be complaining in the first place. The only characters that are likable at all are Richard (Lawrence Michael Levine) and his soon-to-be wife Phoebe (Josephine Decker), but that’s the entire point of the film. Should we like any of the other characters? Probably not. It’s just that the joke isn’t on any of them until later in the movie. When we’re laughing at them it’s hilarious, because they’re such obnoxious people. That’s why the second half of the film is so well done.
Once the guests arrive in Central Park to get the wedding started, everything starts falling apart. Unable to find someone to perform the ceremony, they have to rely on Alex’s cousin Louis (Randy Gambill), a recovering drug addict who has found religion but still seems to be trying to find some crack before the wedding. Tensions rise as guests begin to clash while Richard and Phoebe struggle to keep things on track before the approaching rain begins. The moment they hit the park, things are hilarious. It’s too bad that the entire film didn’t play out that way. Gambill steals the show at this point, providing the voice of reason between the group as he gets everyone to explain what they think friendship means. Of course, he’s also the most unusual member of the group, relating stories of the strange things he’s had to do to get drugs.
Richard sums things up pretty well at the end of the film as he and his new wife talk about kids. Why even bother having kids, he says, we’re already surrounded by them? They’re not perfect, but in the end, they’re all friends, and there are times when that’s all you need, no matter how obnoxious they can be.