The Wedding Video
The Wedding Video is a found-footage style British comedy directed by Nigel Cole (Made in Dagenham, Calendar Girls), starring a plethora of talent from British TV.
Raif (Rufus Hound – Every TV panel show available) is making a video of Tim (Robert Webb – Peep Show) and Saskia’s (Lucy Punch – Hot Fuzz, Bad Teacher) wedding. Saskia’s mother is trying to outdo the social elite of Cheshire by ensuring her daughter has the biggest and best wedding of the season, much to the chagrin of Saskia. Then a series of montages take place to carry the wafer-thin plot forward.
The Blair Witch Project was not the progenitor of found footage films; it was, however, a signal of things to come. Filmmakers realised that this style of production had many advantages: it keeps the budget down, allows for first-person narrative and adds realism. However, the explosion in popularity of this kind of narrative device meant that many directors employed the technique and thus the disadvantages of this style emerged. The Wedding Video is seemingly a training video of how not to make a found-footage movie, but its light plot allows a viewing beneficial to those cinema-goers seeking less involvement in a film.
From a technical stand point the film has its problems. The premise of the wedding video as a present is soon abandoned when the story calls for Raif to play a more central role in the movie. The characters shoot events that would otherwise never be filmed and are seemingly able to preternaturally spy on people. The idea of found-footage is bizarrely abandoned for a number of shots, presumably so that the cinematographer could build up his portfolio. Microphones and sound recording are also dispensed with after the first ten minutes and the viewer seems to have omniscient ears able to hear characters despite the camera being outside the building in which the dialogue is taking place. The very concept of the film is wholly abandoned and treated with disdain.
The plot is rather simplistic: Tim and Saskia do not actually want to get married. Saskia we know to have been the loose cannon at school happens to have much more in common with Raif. This is all explained through a series of montages and exposition that appears from nowhere. It is not so much a case of Deus ex Machina but rather the pantheon of Roman deities invading a factory full of machines. The minute plot is neatly wrapped up in a sequence of roughly five minutes with events that are a challenge to find a relation to the preceding 88 minutes.
The humour is far-fetched with little reaction from the audience and the jokes are predictable with the depth firmly stuck in the shallow end: the sight of Rufus Hound’s bottom was used twice in attempts to generate laughs. Although the script lacked witty verbal fencing, one-liners or anything too intelligent, this is still a film that survives for easy viewing.
The Wedding Video is in the realms of the nadir of British film making, alongside The Sex Lives of the Potato Men or Lesbian Vampire Killers. The film is needlessly shot in the found-footage style but then does not obey the rules of that narrative device. The characters are all two-dimensional; however, credit must be given to Rufus Hound for at least seeming naturalistic.
Watch the trailer for The Wedding Video here: