4 Wedding Planners (2011)
“Planning a marriage is a piece of cake, it’s marriage that’s hard to swallow.”
Director: Michael Kang
Cast: Kimberly-Rose Wolter, Henry Dittman, Illeana Douglas
Synopsis: After Lily rejects her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, she returns home to Hawaii where she must help out with her mother’s weddingplanning business.
If you’re like me, when you see commitment-phobe Lily (Kimberly-Rose Wolter) throw up all over her boyfriend, James (Henry Dittman) after he’s just proposed marriage at the beginning of 4 Wedding Planners, you’ll probably assume two things. First, you’ll assume that the film’s final scenes will see Lily getting married to a man who isn’t James, and secondly, given that we’ve seen abnormally thick and creamy puke in the first two minutes, you’ll assume you’re watching a gross-out comedy. Well, to Wolter’s credit (she also wrote the script and co-produced — there’s surely no surer method of grabbing that all-important leading role), Lily doesn’t get married (although it’s pretty damn close), and there are no more gross-out moments in the brief running time that follows. Sadly, there’s not much of anything else, either, to be honest. Not much of substance, anyway — just an hour-and-a-quarter of women talking about relationships and marriage.
Following her unconventional response to James’ marriage proposal, Lily flees to Hawaii, where her mother (Illeana Douglas) and two sisters, Twinny (Mina Riverton) and Hoku (Janel Parrish) run an ailing wedding planning agency. Twinny is expecting her second child, but her husband never seems to be around to support her, and when he is he’s usually too tired to be much company, and Hoku is secretly dating Kai (Sung Kang) an old flame of Lily’s for whom Lily still carries a torch. While Lily finds herself being slowly sucked into helping the family business despite the objections of Hoku, James follows her to Hawaii in the hopes of salvaging their relationship with the covert assistance of her mother.
Kimberly-Rose Wolter is a vivacious young woman, but sadly she doesn’t possess the screen presence to carry even a movie as safely middle-of-the-road as 4 Wedding Planners. Even if I were a woman I think I would bridle at the way each female character is defined solely by her attitude towards relationships and marriage. It’s all they can talk about, even when they’re arguing over the business, because their differences over how it should be run are determined by their attitudes towards — guess what? — relationships and marriage. The situations in which Lily finds herself are painfully predictable and lack originality — we even have her pretending to be back in love with James when she learns about Hoku hooking up with Kai, and a client being put off the idea of marriage to her fiance by Lily’s forthright views on — well, you know what by now.
While 4 Wedding Planners is a wholly inoffensive movie it’s also entirely conventional with nothing new to say. It looks nice, with all those picturesque locales and has a fresh and breezy colour palette, and the acting is of a reasonable standard. But as I watched I couldn’t shake off the feeling that Wolter truly felt that she was making some insightful contribution to the subject of the petty jealousies and insecurities that colour the relationship between female siblings when really all she’s doing is saying the same old stuff in pretty, new surroundings.