Destination Wedding

Review by Hannah Woodhead @goodjobliz

Directed by

Victor Levin

Starring

Keanu Reeves Winona Ryder

Anticipation.

Winona and Keanu, reunited at last.

Enjoyment.

Goes down as easy as a nice Shiraz.

In Retrospect.

Not quite As Good As It Gets.

Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder make a compelling pairing in this misanthropic romantic comedy.

The first time Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder worked together, it was on Francis Ford Coppola’s gothic opus Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Reeves was widely derided as the worst thing about the film, and has been cited on just about every ‘Roles that Were Miscast’ list since 1992. Fourteen years later came Richard Linklater’s animated Philip K Dick adaptation A Scanner Darkly, and now, a full 26 years since their first on-screen coupling, we have done precisely nothing to deserve witnessing their oddball chemistry in Victor Levin’s quirky two-hander Destination Wedding.

It feels like perfect casting – Frank (Reeves) is a morose, stubborn, often outright rude sort who constantly clears his throat, and Lindsay (Ryder) is a fast-talking, neurotic nightmare who grows progressively more animated the more incensed she is by Frank’s odiousness. Reeves and Ryder have a ball playing so wildly against type, as their characters meet at an airport and immediately despise each other.

Things go from bad to worse when they realise they are both attending nuptials in California wine country: Lindsay is the groom’s ex, and Frank the groom’s estranged brother. Neither of them want to be there, but forced together by proximity and dislike for every other human being, they develop a strange sort of sense of camaraderie.

Victor Levin’s film is that it relies solely on Ryder and Reeves – they are the only two characters with any dialogue, which gives it a screwball sort of energy whereby we only see the wedding from the perspective of two people who do not want to be there. Given that Winona and Keanu are old pals, they have an easy chemistry together, even playing such utterly repugnant characters. There’s something compelling about them despite their glaring faults, as they share their emotional baggage over copious amounts of red wine and knock-off Toblerones. They’re certified weirdos, sure, but weirdos need love too.

It’s an unglossed portrait of romance, even down to a cringe-induced, drawn-out sex scene which runs the gamut of human emotion from fear and embarrassment to amusement and understanding. Undoubtedly Destination Wedding wouldn’t work at all without the curious magnetism of Winona and Keanu at is core, and some of the gender politics which come out in the script feel weirdly dated for 2019. Even so, it’s a charming enough trip for its svelte 85-minute runtime, and like Punch-Drunk Love did so beautifully back in 2002, it suggests there’s someone for you, as strange as you are.

Published 9 May 2019

Tags: Destination Wedding Keanu Reeves Winona Ryder

Anticipation.

Winona and Keanu, reunited at last.

Enjoyment.

Goes down as easy as a nice Shiraz.

In Retrospect.

Not quite As Good As It Gets.

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