Writer - Tim Firth
Director - Nigel Cole
Producer - James Gay-Rees
THE WEDDING VIDEO is a comedy set in the cut throat world of English society weddings.
RAIF (Rufus Hound) is a shambolic oaf with a unique sense of humour who is suddenly asked to be his brother’s best man. His present to the happy couple, he decides, will be a video of their wedding. He returns from abroad to meet brother TIM (Robert Webb) for the first time in years and his fiancé SASKIA (Lucy Punch).
His film is our film – the final edited version with music, live action, interviews, the works. It’s the wedding equivalent of Spinal Tap. And thank God Raif caught it all on film, because no-one would have believed it otherwise. Amidst the chaos of planning their big day and fending off unwanted help the couple begin to wonder ‘who’s wedding is it anyway?’
To RAIF’s surprise, he finds his once-bohemian brother has undergone a total change of character and is marrying into the most socially aspirant of families; SASKIA’s grandmother, PATRICIA (Miriam Margoyles) would give Hyacinth Bucket a run for her money and mum ALEX has successfully married and settled into life in the ‘Cheshire Set’ – the English ‘Beverley Hills’.
As ALEX tries to compete in this world of perfectly manicured talons and so win the approval of her snobby mother, RAIF starts to uncover the sheer scale of the wedding industry in the 21st Century from personalised ring pillows to the most bizarre means of getting to the church on time.
As pressure mounts and the big day approaches Bride, Groom and Best Man have to face the fact that the sun is rising on the most outlandish, garish wedding in Cheshire history. And they’re the stars…
Rufus Hound - Raif
Lucy Punch - Saskia
Robert Webb - Tim
Harriet Walter - Alex
Miriam Margolyes - Patricia
Cara Horgan - Roxy
Julianne White - Tara
John Duggan - Wedding Guest
Angus Barnett - Reverend Dobbs
Alexis Zegerman -
Clair King - Gina
The film amuses and charms in equal measure, relying on the comic timing of its ensemble British cast led by Rufus Hound.
Scriptwriter Wirral’s Tim Firth spares the characters few blushes as excitement and expectation turns to anguish.
Shambolic oaf Raif (Hound) decides to make a video of his estranged brother’s forthcoming nuptials as a present to the bride and groom, turning up at the door of brother Tim (Robert Webb), determined to immortalise every aspect of the preparations.
The first surprise comes when he learns Tim is engaged to Saskia (Lucy Punch), a boozeswigging wild child who has been polished into a refined, young lady by her well-to-do mother, a doyenne of the Cheshire social set, who is determined that the big day will dazzle.
Raif is introduced to other members of the clan, including Saskia’s xenophobic gran (Miriam Margolyes).
But as he spends more time with the couple, Raif glimpses tiny cracks in their relationship.
The Wedding Video captures the frenzied whirl in the weeks leading up to “I do”.
Webb and Punch are well matched as the happy couple and Harriet Walter purses her lips with gusto as the bride’s mother.
Belly laughs walk down the aisle with touching sentiment and while there’s a certain inevitability to the climactic emotional devastation, it’s a bow to convention we toast.
"Lucy Punch is a national treasure, an often underrated comedienne who finally gets to take centre stage as the twitchy bride" DIGITALSKY.CO.UK
That old cinema staple, the ‘run up to the wedding’ genre, gets a brisk and amusing dust-off in this British comedy, which is blessed with a wonderful cast of seasoned campaigners as well as a screen newcomer (in the form of UK TV comedian Rufus Hound) and comes up with a film that hits the funny spots pretty well, despite drifting to a climax that is obvious though not quite convincing.
In the seasoned hands of director Nigel Cole (who made Saving Grace, Calendar Girls and Made In Dagenham) it is polished conjugal comedy, making good use of the plot device the all of the footage is supposedly shot fly-on-the-wall style by the best man in the run up to the wedding itself. It is an easy sale into English-language markets and those territories fond of British comedy.
To a certain extent the story of The Wedding Video is driven by a fairly familiar rom-com plot structure, but it is at its best well poking fun at the British society wedding…especially when that society is the moneyed and aspirational, and the perfect comedy target.
The film revolves around Raif (Hound), a genially oafish man who returns from travelling to attend the Cheshire wedding of his brother Tim (Robert Webb, star of much-loved UK TV comedy series Peep Show) to society girl Saskia (Lucy Punch, who is making an strong impact in the US in films such as Bad Teacher). Raif is bemused to remember that he knows Saskia from school where she was a legendary party animal and rebel.
Raif’s wedding gift is that he plans to video the run-up to the wedding as well as the happy event itself, while slightly disappointed that his once-bohemian brother is marrying into this socially aspirant family. Saskia’s mother Alex (a wonderful performance by Harriet Walter) is determined the wedding should top all others, while Saskia’s grandmother Patricia (Miriam Margolyes) is a terrifying snob.
The shambolic videoing leads to amusing coverage of such things as the crazy dance rehearsal; an embarrassing tour round a stately home chosen as the wedding party venue; a drunken wine-tasting session and (best of all) the hilarious stag-night that sees Tim spend much of the evening wallowing around in a giant inflatable penis. Also terrific is a cameo performance from Michelle (Green Wing) Gomez as a delightfully barking-mad wedding planner.
Given that big-screen newcomer Rufus Hound (who has an engaging smutty charm and a cheerful line delivery) is the lead here, it the climactic scenes come as no surprise, though when the film should be committed to delivering the comedy it veers into schmaltzy and vaguely sentimental territory. The strength of The Wedding Video lies in some of the hilarious comedy vignettes and more especially a trio of wonderful performances from three generations of actresses, Lucy Punch, Harriett Walter and Miriam Margolyes.
ScreenDaily - Mark Adams
"Tim Firth and director Nigel Cole have fun sending up nouveau-riche extravagance and the cast deliver ripe comic performances." WHATSONTV.CO.UK
This surprisingly agreeable British wedding comedy stars a likable Rufus Hound as the errant brother and dangerous best man to Robert Webb’s more staid groom-to-be. Hound’s irrepressibly fun joker decides his gift will be to film the fraught build-up to the OTT society wedding, in the process witnessing or creating all manner of indiscretions, rivalries, mishaps and alcohol-fuelled shenanigans. After a hilarious first half it flags a bit, rescued by wedding day disaster and one of the best wedding speeches ever. Bride Lucy Punch is delightful and a born comedienne, but everyone is on their toes. Cute, and quite funny.
As bride-to-be Saskia (Punch) and her prospective groom Tim (Webb) struggle to get their heads around their big society wedding - unicorns, ice sculptures and personalised ring pillows and all - Tim’s roguish brother Raif (Hound) announces his intention to film it all.
Not quite Four Weddings-funny but always entertaining and endearing in equal measure. Less so if you’re preparing for a wedding.
EmpireOnLine - Angie Errigo
Purporting to be a “documentary” of a wedding shot by the best man (comedian Rufus Hound), The Wedding Video seeks to show us that the camera never lies – unlike almost everyone involved in a wedding.
Don’t take that the wrong way: there are lots of excellent reasons to lie. As the groom, Robert Webb doesn’t need the internal monologue he uses in Peep Show to convey that he’s terrified of the escalating scale and cost of his wedding, but doesn’t want to p*** his in-laws off. Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher) is very likeable as the bride whose mother has totally hijacked proceedings. Meanwhile, Hound is Raif, the best man struggling to understand how his brother ended up with a woman who seems so different from him.
Put it all together and where do you end up? A wedding fair, arguing over whether releasing live butterflies is a worthwhile use of the budget. Set in Cheshire, perhaps Britain’s most upwardly mobile county, the film shows how much one-upmanship is involved in the average wedding and a lot of the comedy comes from fripperies that – while ridiculous – are only marginally exaggerated. Look out for the bride’s mother on a unicorn.
Mining that same seam, the wedding planner, played by Michelle Gomez (the psychotic Scottish HR lady in The Green Wing) is absolutely brilliant as the person who treats every single shot of wheatgrass as a matter of life and death.
But the film’s great success is that Raif isn’t just an observer, watching and mocking the extravagant pointlessness of it all à la My Big Fat Gypsy Whatever – he is participating, and has one-to-one moments with every single character that make you feel for them, however badly they may be behaving. The mother of the bride, played by Harriet Walter, comes across as a smug Cheshire wife who bulldozes right through her daughter’s wishes in order to impress her mum and her highly competitive mates – but you still feel a little bit glad for her as she triumphantly tells her friends that she has booked a stately home for the reception.
“Weddings are a show,” says Walter in the production notes. “Everybody starts to pretend that everybody loves everybody, divorce doesn’t exist, death doesn’t exist and fights and quarrels don’t exist – that’s effortlessly funny.”
If you’re in the process of planning a wedding, some of this may be a little near the knuckle. But if you’re dealing with anything like as much family pressure as this lot, you could probably do with a laugh. Go and see The Wedding Video – and remember that, whether or not a falcon delivers your rings, what really matters is that you end up with the one you love.
Oxford City Guide - Emma Bartley
"one of the best wedding speeches ever..." EMPIRE
A homemade wedding video causes rifts in this comedy from Calendar Girls director Nigel Cole. Peep Show’s Robert Webb plays groom-to-be Tim, Lucy Punch his intended Saskia and Rufus Hound his errant brother Raif.
Raif proudly announces he’ll be making a video of the run-up to the wedding but it turns out to be a gift nobody wants – especially when there’s a meddling mother-in-law (Harriet Walter) and wedding jitters involved.
Presenting the entire film as said video relies on contrived co-incidences and an inherently amateurish feel. But there’s a witty script and funny performances from both Walters and Punch.
Punch is terrific as the outwardly respectable society gal who’s hankering after her rebellious school days – days Raif remembers all too well. Meanwhile Hound, while fitfully amusing, doesn’t quite tick all the boxes this big-screen script requires.
With its irreverent, observational character humour, The Wedding Video often reminds you of Peep Show. The downside of this is that you wish Webb was playing the irresponsible lad again, rather than a sensible people-pleaser. Still, anyone who’s ever prepared for a wedding will find a lot to love and laugh about.
The Metro - Anna Smith
The DVD is available
and includes special features.
|| Includes interviews with the cast and crew of The Wedding Video