Always a Bridesmaid

Closing credits of documaker Nina Davenport's "Always a Bridesmaid" include thanks to Ross McElwee, whose influential first-person docus exert strong pull over this diary account of helmer's love life and frustrations regarding tying the knot. Still, the McElwee style is now so ubiquitous that this entry in personal nonfiction cinema feels dated, quickly lapsing into solipsism and non-amusing navel gazing. Pic will make a healthy round of docu-oriented fests, and is skedded to air June 27 on Cinemax, a co-funder along with Channel Four.

Closing credits of documaker Nina Davenport’s “Always a Bridesmaid” include thanks to Ross McElwee, whose influential first-person docus exert strong pull over this diary account of helmer’s love life and frustrations regarding tying the knot. Still, the McElwee style is now so ubiquitous that this entry in personal nonfiction cinema feels dated, quickly lapsing into solipsism and non-amusing navel gazing. Pic will make a healthy round of docu-oriented fests, and is skedded to air June 27 on Cinemax, a co-funder along with Channel Four.

Davenport explains in ineffective voiceover that she’s torn between the sense that spinsterhood is her destiny and her insatiable love for guys. Personal turmoil is heightened by her work as a freelance wedding videographer, which serves to remind her of what she thinks she lacks in life. Current b.f. Nick seems a good fit, but he’s five years younger and less mature, and it soon becomes painfully obvious that she needs to move on. Topic may be apt for at least one generation of women, but Davenport’s me-myself-and-I approach loses humor, surprise and insight too soon to sustain feature length.

Always a Bridesmaid

(DOCU)

Production: A Nina Davenport production, in co-production with Cinemax and Channel Four. (International sales: Sunshine AmalgaMedia, N.Y.) Produced, directed, written, edited by Nina Davenport. Camera (digital video color), Davenport; music, Sheldon Mirowitz. Reviewed at Westside Pavilion Cinemas, L.A., March 29, 2000. (In L.A. Independent Film Festival-competing.) Running time: 101 MIN.

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