Four Weddings and a Funeral Re-Release

Six years after it took the world by storm, Four Weddings and a Funeral remains one of the most likeable British films of the Nineties. While the script by Richard Curtis and direction by Mike Newell are near flawless, the movie features Hugh Grant at his best, Simon Callow at his most blustering and John Hannah in the days before he could command million dollar pay cheques for starring in movies like upcoming blockbuster, The Mummy 2. The actresses are hilarious with Anna Chancellor (Duckface), Charlotte Coleman (Scarlett) and Andie MacDowell (Carrie) all eclipsed by the delicious Kristin Scott Thomas (Fiona). Don’t miss the scene where upper crust Fiona and Charles (Grant) are surveying one of the eponymous ceremonies.

Aspiring screenwriters could learn a thing or two from this classic. The pacing is timed to perfection, from the breakneck opening in which Charles and flatmate Scarlett try to get to the church on time to the well worn finale which adds a nice twist to familiar surroundings. While the supporting cast is sublime, one old mate of the screenwriter would have been better off leaving the project well alone. It was inevitable that Rowan Atkinson would be employed by Curtis. After all, the latter had played the stooge to Rowan on stage— Richard’s recollections would become 1989’s greatest laughfest, The Tall Guy. Small screen smash Mr Bean also did little to destroy their friendship and when you’re scripting any film, it helps to have friends you can rely on.

Alas, Atkinson is perhaps the weakest link in the chain, bringing too much baggage to his role as the rookie vicar, Gerald. As with Robin Williams, many had grown tired of the BlackAdder veteran by this point. After 14 years, familiarity was starting to breed contempt. Andie MacDowell is also a tad wooden as the primary love interest but it scarcely matters. The gags are hilarious, the drama is heartbreaking and the soundtrack is not bad— Love is All Around by Wet Wet Wet still gets the hairs on the back of the neck standing to attention. The reason for much of the film’s charm can be attributed to the actors and director but screenwriter Richard Curtis and his partner Emma Freud deserve most of the glory for turning a good idea into a great screenplay.

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~ by upbeatmag on October 9, 2011.

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