Director: Michael Ian Black | 90 minutes | comedy, romance | Actors: Jason Biggs, Isla Fisher, Joe Pantoliano, Joanna Gleason, Edward Herrman, Margo Martindale, Michael Weston, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Heather Goldenhersh, Jay O. Sanders, Robert Corddry
With his first full-length film, director Michael Ian Black does not deliver a cinema that excels in originality. The fact is fun and not even that far-fetched. The effect is generally good. How the two future lovers meet and how they treat each other is easy to follow. Jason Biggs and Isla Fisher are a great match and they play their roles credibly. Still, something is not quite right. Black seems to hesitate between hilarious comedy and standard romance, leaving the movie unbalanced. The opening scene is over the top and does not capture the meaning of the rest of the film. The reason for Anderson’s initial breakdown, the fact that his girlfriend dies because he proposes to her in a rather strange way, is a bit too far-fetched. And so there are several scenes (such as the prison scene at the end) and characters in the story that give you that feeling. As if Black hasn’t taken himself and his film completely seriously enough, or perhaps, under pressure from the movie bosses, has had to make concessions.
There are a number of supporting roles in the film that are too exaggerated, making you wonder if the makers were afraid that it wouldn’t be fun enough otherwise. Examples include the overcharming waiter in the opening scene and Anderson’s parents, a kind of sex-addicted psychopath. A big exception to this is the role of Ted (Michael Weston), who portrays an excellent, engaging and highly credible best friend. Heartwarming and funny at the same time and not too much. It doesn’t seem like Biggs intends to let go of his image as just not too bourgeois, but also very American semi-dork. After the quite successful “American Pie” sequels, he does his thing all over again in “Wedding Daze”. Although this movie is not the same, the role is clearly in the same vein again and yes, it is a role that suits him. The same goes for his co-star Isla Fisher, who also did her trick in “Scooby Doo”, “Wedding Crashers” and “Hot Rod”. Yet she has now also played a different kind of role in the thriller “The Lookout”. This may be easier for her, because she has not yet played a significant leading role. That also has its advantages.
In the credits (strangely enough) the right tone is found again, with some nice videos, which makes up for a lot. But in the end we are dealing here with a not entirely successful formula film, because especially the quantities of the ingredients are not in balance. Sometimes a little too much sugar, sometimes a little too little. It does have flavor, but could have been much better.