CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: Katherine McPhee Nearly Saves ‘You May Not Kiss the Bride’
CHICAGO – Rob Hedden’s “You May Not Kiss the Bride” with Dave Annable, Katharine McPhee, and Rob Schneider is the kind of modest romantic comedy with wacky hijinks and likable central characters that one typically stumbles upon in a video store or when cycling through new On Demand options. Before that happens, the mediocre honeymoon from hell pic is getting a minor theatrical release in some markets, including Chicago, starting this weekend. The charisma and comic timing of the film’s female leads make up for some of the screenwriting rough patches but not enough to justify a trip to the theater.
Annable (“Brothers & Sisters,” “666 Park Avenue”) plays Bryan Lighthouse, the owner of a Chicago pet photography studio called Lighthouse Photography. Bryan’s assistant Tonya (Mena Suvari) is a troublemaker who happens to have an unhealthy crush on our affable hero. One day, Tonya accidentally allows a cat into the studio before a shoot with a dog has ended and, of course, a wacky pet fight montage ensues.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “You May Not Kiss the Bride” in our reviews section.|
It turns out the traumatized cat belongs to the wife of a powerful Croatian mobster named Vadik Nikitin (Ken Davitian) who happens to be in a predicament. The bribe he tried to pay two INS agents (Kevin Dunn & Howard Bishop) just made them angry and so now Nikitin needs to convince someone to marry his daughter Masha (McPhee) so she doesn’t have to leave the country. Enter poor Bryan. To pay back for his photography snafu, Bryan will marry Masha, go on a honeymoon with her, and convince the world that they’re in love even though it’s just for a green card. After a year, Bryan and Masha will split and the lovely bride will marry Nikitin’s thug Brick (Vinnie Jones). And Brick will make sure that Bryan doesn’t even kiss the lovely Masha. Schneider and Tia Carrere play local color on the Hawaiian honeymoon while Kathy Bates cameos in a series of phone call scenes as Bryan’s wisecracking mother.
“You May Not Kiss the Bride” is an unusual movie in the way that Hedden struggles with tone throughout, going from sexually-charged humor with Suvari to physical hijinks with Schneider to a romantic comedy with the two leads, who, of course, inevitably fall in actual love to supplant their fake one. The writer/director of “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan” can never get a grip on the material, presenting something that veers from sitcomish cliché to violent physical humor to generic romance and back again. The characters are little more than devices for the physical hijinks of the story and the lack of care that most audience members will have about Bryan and Masha means that all that’s left are the bad jokes and people falling down or hitting each other.
You May Not Kiss the Bride
Photo credit: Freestyle Digital Media