By Dave B.
In Destination Wedding (2018, currently on Amazon Prime) misanthropic Frank (Keanu Reeves) and neurotic Lindsay (Winona Rider) are thrust together at the wedding of Frank’s brother, who is also Lindsay’s ex-fiancé. The two develop a bond as the outcasts on the wedding’s sidelines. But can that bond overcome their initial antipathy towards each other and the emotional armor that each of them carries as a legacy of their emotional damage?
I don’t review many romantic comedies because most entries in the genre have extremely predictable, formulaic plots. Destination Wedding is no exception to that unfortunate trend. However, this movie is different from run-of-the-mill romcoms in a couple of important ways. Firstly, Frank and Lindsay are likably unlikable. Frank is relentlessly logical, despises pretty much everyone, and has basically cut himself off from humanity. Lindsay is lonely, judgmental, and pining for her ex-fiancé, but self-aware enough to know that she’s being ridiculous and fully willing and able to embrace her flaws. They’re an interesting pair and their dynamic dialogue is energetic and interesting enough to keep the 88 minute movie from becoming too boring.
The other bright spot in Destination Wedding is the cast, which consists pretty much exclusively of Reeves and Ryder. A less talented and fundamentally likable duo wouldn’t have been able to pull off these roles. Reeves in particular shines (although I’ll admit that I’m biased, as I think I may share some of Frank’s personality traits). Frank continuously meets Ryder’s budding optimism for life and a potential future relationship between them with cold, hard logic and an unwillingness to get swept up in her “flights of fancy”. Nearly any actor but Reeves would have come off as a bully, but he really excels at conveying how truly broken Frank is, which engenders a degree of sympathy for the character instead of purely scorn.
The truth is, I like Destination Wedding. It’s not great by any means, but it’s witty, darkly funny, and charmingly pretentious. If there was a romcom that I had to watch upon pain of death, this would definitely be near the top of my list for those reasons. I recommend it, but I fully acknowledge that this movie definitely isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for a primarily heartwarming, loving, sweep you off your feet kind of romance, you won’t find it here. Destination Wedding offers more measured feelings, from characters filled with fear, pain, and a decidedly warped vision of human existence. If you can get behind that, you should check this one out.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.