Hugh Grant plays Charles, a bachelor who tells himself that he is looking for a wife but is too indecisive and unwilling to commit to any one woman. So he goes to wedding after wedding getting increasingly desperate and frustrated.
One after another, marriage picks off members of Charles’s group of close-knit friends.
The group is centred around the flamboyant Gareth, played superbly by Simon Callow. Both the character and the actor are incorrigible scene stealers, upstaging everybody else in sight. Charles has flitted from woman to woman without ever deciding on one. The only woman really close to him is Scarlett who is a fraternal friend.
However, Charles’s latest interest is in a visiting American, Carrie (Andie MacDowell) who seems to be going to all the same weddings. Charles finds Carrie very attractive – and is often tongue-tied in her presence – and almost would be willing to commit to her.
The two exchange intimacies of various kinds but neither can really decide to marry the other.
The script took Richard Curtis (one of the founding forces of British TV’s Black Adder series) three years to write and director Mike Newell just 36 days to shoot.
Everybody’s worst nightmares about just what could go wrong at a wedding combine with visual gags, dialogue gags, and even subtitle gags.
Hugh Grant is boyish and pleasant enough but not always believable as Charles. Ironically, Andie MacDowell is central to the story without having much of a role except to look attractive.
Scarlett, the friend, is actually a more intriguing role than is Carrie. But the plum role, of course, is Gareth, whose boisterous love of life makes him the focal point of so much of the film.
This is a decidedly lightweight film but well made and one that has occasionally very funny gags.
It possesses humour, good dialogue, people the audience care about, all to tell a story with just a wisp of a plot.
With a genuine plot this could have been a really outstanding film.
Kristin Scott Thomas