Saturday, 1 July 2017

Movie Review: Jenny's Wedding (2015)


A coming out drama, Jenny's Wedding is a poorly constructed lightweight mess.

In Cleveland, Jenny (Katherine Heigl) has never revealed to her family that she is a lesbian. She now decides to get married to her long-time partner and roommate Kitty (Alexis Bledel), and works up the courage to have the difficult conversations with her mother Rose (Linda Emond) and father Eddie (Tom Wilkinson).

Rose and Eddie react poorly, and Rose demands that Jenny keep her sexual orientation a secret so as not create embarrassment to the family. With Jenny's sister Anne (Grace Gummer) and brother Michael (Matthew Metzger) initially kept in the dark, the miscommunication only results in a worsening spiral of gossip, secrets and cover-ups within the family and with close friends and neighbours, until Jenny snaps, confronts her parents and decides to bluntly come out to everyone.

An independent production directed and written by Mary Agnes Donoghue, Jenny's Wedding is well intentioned but also unfortunately poorly written and only has enough content for about 20 minutes of screen time. The difficulties of coming out in a relatively conservative Midwest suburban community are worth exploring, but the the story painfully lacks substance, imagination and nuance.

The linear narrative clearly heads towards a final hug fest, but Jenny's Wedding struggles mightily to make it to the 90 minute mark, and features plenty of cringe-worthy, half-complete dialogue scenes pretending to be profound but mainly falling flat. Distressed parents Rose and Eddie have pillow talk conversations including:

Eddie:  All you can do...is what you do.
Rose: What?
Eddie: All you can do is what you do.
Rose: What does that mean?
Eddie: It means what it means.

Late in the proceedings Eddie and his best buddy and fellow firefighter Denny (Sam McMurray) have an awkward talk-it-out scene climaxing with this stupefying exchange:

Denny: We've known each other a long time and...if I don't dig myself out...I lose. And that's why I'm here. To dig myself out.
Eddie: How do you do that?
Denny: I don't know. I never had to do it before. I guess I start with me, I mean...And that's why I'm here. To dig myself out of me.

But worse of all is Jenny's unhappily married sister Anne, who somehow becomes obsessed with the condition of her lawn grass as a metaphor for happiness. She goes on and on - and on - about the colour of her grass, dragging the film down to the level of an amateur production written by grade schoolers.

Meanwhile the dynamics of the relationship between Jenny and Kitty are underwritten and effectively ignored, Kitty reduced to a non-entity bystander role, the radiant Alexis Bledel comprehensively wasted.

With a schmaltzy soundtrack hammering home the obvious, Jenny's Wedding is an event to miss.






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