Thursday, May 10, 2012

Helena from the Wedding (2010)

     I want to say something positive about Helena from the Wedding (2010), so I'll go with something like Lee Tergesen (Alex) looks younger than he did during his time on Wanted (2005).  Maybe that's good living.  Or maybe it is karma for having the misfortune of having to make his bones – in part – by playing Chet in the TV version of Weird Science (1994-97).  But he certainly deserves something better than this movie.
      Actually, all of the cast does.  Melanie Lynskey (Alice) – best known as Rose from Two and a Half Men (2003-present) – doesn't get to do much more than mope and drag exposition out of Dagmara Dominczyk (Eve) about an unfulfilling marriage.  (Ms. Dominczyk appears to be a serial TV guest star, but I'm guessing she does most of her work on the stage.)  Alice and Eve don't seem to have much in common, except that they like each other.  No reason to figure out how they came to be such close friends, or to even hint at it in the film.  Corey Stoll (Steven) – an actor best remembered for boldly trying to bring the big cop mustache back to prime time during his run on Law & Order: Los Angeles (2010-11) – is a mostly vacuous character, who tries to find some level of redemption (in terms of development) with a pair of lines late in the movie.
     Other TV vets include Dominic Fumusa (Don), Paul Fitzgerald (Nick), Jessica Hecht (Lynn), and – with the worst British accent this side of Madonna – Gillian Jacobs (Helena).  All have acted well in other projects, but none of them seem comfortable in this.  Fumusa comes closest to finding any sympathy from writer/director Joseph Infantolio, but he just can't get there.
     The movie was clearly shot quickly and on the cheap.  None of the shots are specifically lighted for those shots.  It shows (I wouldn't have thought it would be this obvious, but it is).  And Infantolio favored labored, lingering shots that did nothing other than make the story drag.  This was made worse by the ten second dissolves he thought made the metaphors work.  Not so much.
     Oh, and the story?  Imagine a bunch of mostly WASPish couples (and a pair of singles) were together, drinking, doing some drugs (let's not judge, right?), and finding out that there are problems in their relationships.  Life crises included: having a play that only ran two weeks, not being liked by coworkers, and (apparently) not knowing when to use your British accent.  There is a couple with real problems, but since their only settings are she's a bitch & he doesn't earn any money (she makes quite a bit as a successful lawyer) and vigorous fucking, it is hard to view them as anything other than caricatures.  Helena is supposed to be a plot device, but she doesn't do much more than occupy space.
     I want to believe that the actors did this movie as a favor to someone, probably Infantolio.  It would have been nice if he could have returned the favor and given them a better script or at least taken care to shoot it better.  This movie is one that should be avoided.  There is no real point to it, at least not the point it seems to want to make.

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