Tuesday, 24 March 2015

BARN WEDDING - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Vacuity takes centre stage in twee trifle.

Barn Wedding (2014)
Dir. Shaun Benson
Starring: Emily Coutts, Kelly McCormack, Brett Donahue, Shaun Benson, Kate Corbett, Lara Jean Chorostecki, Kaleb Alexander, Christopher Hayes, Anthony Ulc

Review By Greg Klymkiw

If the sound accidentally cuts out during a screening of Barn Dance (AKA The Non-Discreet Lack of Charm of the Bourgeousie), the only thing you might hear in the cinema is snoring. This insufferably twee little excursion into the dull, bourgeois lives of twenty-somethings feels like an actors' vanity project and/or showcase piece rather than a real movie. (That said, all the actors acquit themselves well, in spite of the film's overwhelming emptiness and their solid thespian gymnastics might manage to keep a few bums in the seats half-awake.)

The dullsville proceedings involve a group of friends who were once tight, but are now, not-so-tight during the days leading up to a wedding in a barn. Ugh! Yes, a barn wedding! (Personally, I wonder why people don't choose basement banquet halls in motor hotels anymore, but don't mind me, I'm from Winnipeg, eh.) Seriously, though. I hate barn weddings - horrendously fake and phoney wedding locales for urban hipsters with disposable scads of income and/or mommies and daddies with deep pockets. And guess what? The movie promises, in spite of the not-too convincing hurdles that arise, to deliver a barn wedding as a major set piece during the final minutes of this 83-minute movie, which, by the way, feels about 83 minutes too long.

The wedding itself has been rushed in order to take advantage of holding a summer affair in the barn, but is postponed for a relatively dull, real-life reason and, once again, is rushed to do the barn thing in spite of the fact that it will be in the middle of winter. This makes about as much sense as anything in this picture. We are, after all, dealing with sickening bourgeois values. In fact, the entire marriage appears to be an excuse to generate cool snapshots to share on Pinterest and Facebook. Ugh!

The sheer pettiness and inconsequence of these people is even more depressing since it does feel rooted in something fairly realistic in terms of the horrific vacuity which infuses the generation these characters spring from. I tend to avoid people like this in real life since I'm too often compelled to punch them in the face.

What we get for donating 83 minutes of our lives is a clutch of extremely attractive, well-dressed couples (and one single fifth wheel) as the yakety-yak-yakking that spits out of their respective maws about days gone by, the immediate present and especially, the future, drags on interminably from the city to the country settings.

Two of our characters (luckily, both babes) share a secret yearning which could upset the apple cart if it's consummated. We wait, with baited breath for the inevitable to happen and hope we at least get a lollapalooza of a sapphic tumble for the investiture of our precious time on this Earth. Unfortunately the hoped-for coupling is an underwhelming bit of wheel-spinning which matches the rest of the movie's wheel-spinning.

I'm really not sure whom this movie is for, though I suspect there might be more than a few vacuous non-entities out in audience-land who will relate to this clutch of empty vessels. If you happen to be one of them, hey, knock yourself out.

As for me, I was even more disappointed that the music during the wedding reception wasn't provided by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, and instead of the horrendous trilling of the exit tune that's there now, a nice segue into:

Well now it's time to say goodbye to all these bourgeois kin,
And they would like to thank you folks fer' kindly droppin' in.
Yer' all invited back next week to this locality,
To have a heapin' helpin' of their hospitality…
Bourgeousie that is.
Set a spell, Take your shoes off.
Y'all come back now, y'hear?.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: *½ One-and-a-half Stars

Barn Wedding is playing at Toronto's 2015 Canadian Film Fest.