Review: ‘Muriel’s Wedding’

Muriel's Wed ding is an aesthetically crude ugly-duckling fantasy that is shrewdly designed as a lowbrow audience pleaser.

“Muriel’s Wedding” is an aesthetically crude ugly-duckling fantasy that is shrewdly designed as a lowbrow audience pleaser.

First-time writer/director P.J. Hogan establishes poor Muriel (Toni Collette) as, in her own words, ‘stupid, fat and useless.’ The overweight 22-year-old high school dropout is savaged by her father (Bill Hunter) for not even being able to type. After a resort vacation where she hooks up with g.f. Rhonda (Rachel Griffiths) to do a lip-synched Abba routine in a club, the young ladies move to Sydney.

In a series of unlikely and bizarre plot developments, Rhonda contracts cancer, which provides the chance for Muriel to care for her and thus build some self-worth; her father becomes embroiled in a financial scandal as well as an extramarital affair; and Muriel fulfills at least the externals of her fantasy by marrying a hunky South African swimmer.

Most of the action is played for broad laughs, and Hogan demonstrates the ability to generate them, even if the humor is base and often cruel, making fun of people’s looks and ineptitude. Visual style highlights the crassest elements of middle-class Aussie lifestyle, with an emphasis on vulgar color schemes, bad clothes and touristic consumerism.

Muriel's Wedding

Australia - France


House & Moorhouse/CiBy 2000. Director P.J. Hogan; Producer Lynda House, Jocelyn Moorhouse; Screenplay P.J. Hogan; Camera Martin McGrath; Editor Jill Bilcock; Music Peter Best; Art Director Patrick Reardon


(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1994. Running time: 105 MIN.


Toni Collette Bill Hunter Rachel Griffiths Jeanie Drynan Gennie Nevinson Brice David Van Arkle
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety