Rating: 4 out of 12 Steps
Rachel Getting Married is one of those movies that's good because somebody smart said it was. It's not any fun to watch, and has almost no entertainment value, but it's artsy.
Everyone in this movie is fucking miserable, and damned if director Jonathan Demme isn't going to make sure the viewer is just as miserable every step of the way. If you need any proof of this fact, go ahead and run over to IMDB and take note of the fact that over half of the credited cast are playing parts that start with the phrase "12-Step."
Rachel's sister Kym (Anne Hathaway) just got out of rehab (yay!), and it wasn't her first time, by a long shot. She's got a miserable history of addiction and tragedy. Her family is broken by divorce and remarriage and has been driven to a near psychotic level of multiculturalism as a result.
Kym shows up, with her bitchiness turned up to about eight, guilts her sister into making her maid of honor (after she sleeps with the best man -- apparently minutes after arriving -- and he tells her she's not) instead of her friend who has actually helped plan the whole thing and actually, you know, not been a total bitch to Rachel and everyone else she can get her smoke-blowing, petulant face in front of.
So, there is a grand total of two likeable characters in this film, neither of which are Kym or Rachel, and one of which (Rachel's fiance) is something of a cypher, since he barely speaks. The other is the best man, but I get the feeling that, if you had a couple of days to get to know him, he'd turn out to be a jerk.
Did I mention that they are inexplicably having an Indian wedding? Well, they are. And it's inexplicable. And Rachel's husband-to-be is a black guy who sings Neil Young songs. I mean, it's like they're trying to confuse me just out of spite.
Rachel is getting married to a ... musician? Producer? I'm not entirely sure, except that he seems to know about four hundred other musicians who are played by real musicians, every one of whom plays at least one song at the wedding, and we get to listen. Wow, Robyn Hitchcock and Fab 5 Freddy are still alive? Awesome.
So what if the movie grinds to a halt every time somebody starts singing? You're supposed to be suffering, here, viewer!
This movie has more false endings than Return of the King. And, no, I'm not exaggerating. Every time the camera lingers on people as music plays and they all look at each other with a sad sort of reflection in their eyes ... Brazilian showgirls come running in!
Well, that only happens once, but it is not nearly as fun as it sounds.
There are some saving graces to the film, don't get me wrong. The acting is fine, the ... um ... well, the acting is good. The plot is manipulative button-pushing, but it's not boring, I guess. But if you don't like depressing stories featuring bitchy people with terrible family histories, filmed with a Cloverfield-esque lack of steadicam (barf!), I wouldn't recommend it.
Unless I didn't like you.