Destination Wedding Review
Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder head up this gloriously sandpaper-dry (anti) romantic comedy as two strangers who realise they’re guests at the same wedding while en route to Paso Robles. Reeves is Frank, a miserable loner. Ryder is Lindsay, a miserable loner. They snipe at each other in the departure lounge, they throw insults while sharing a row on the plane, and argue endlessly in the cab to the hotel, which - surprise surprise! - they end up sharing together before attending nuptials amongst the vineyards.
So; two strangers drawn together by family happenstance lead us on a will-they-won’t-they journey of blossoming love amongst sun-dappled gardens, hurling expletives at each other as they go - yes, it’s Call Me By Your Rude Name!
As chalk and cheese couples go, you’d be hard pressed to find two performers more suited to playing opposites: Ryder excels in snarky lip twists and eyebrow raises to challenge The Rock, while Reeves' dour countenance and stiff demeanour more closely resemble a rock. Thoroughly and joyously inexpressive, he still sports the John Wick hair and beard (not to mention near-identical black tie get-up), and the sheer amount of glowering does arouse concern that perhaps this will be a very brief encounter.
Working within a series of distinctly still, minimalist setups (the two of them sat alone at the reception, crammed into the back of a small plane, stood in an empty airport car park), Reeves and Ryder are a total dream as the unlikable duo, and the ideal pair to liven up such a well-worn premise.
True, the sight and sound of two unpleasant curmudgeons bickering for 80 minutes could very quickly become an insufferable drag, but the lively spikiness of the non-couple is so endearing that it’s practically impossible not to fall for them (plus, I challenge anyone to experience Ryder describing the size, shape and “balletic” formation of Reeves’ nether regions without admitting at least three chuckles).
It’s all lip-wrinkling zingers and knife-sharp remarks aplenty in writer-director Victor Levin’s script; a relentlessly sardonic affair that traverses everything from Lindsay and Frank’s mutual distaste for individual guests (“Was she born in the Great Depression?” “No...she caused it.”) to the broader themes of love and devotion (“Don’t you think there’s someone for everyone?” “Close. I think there’s nobody for anyone”).
Things occasionally fall flat in moments when the grumpy humour and innate sugariness stray out of sync: some of Frank’s more bitter outbursts make the ungainly side-step from from ‘cynical’ to ‘edgy’, while the final two minutes of the film seem to undercut the underlying thesis presented thus far. Save for these few, brief falters; you’d be hard-pressed to find a more pitch-perfect walk to the comedy altar.