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White Night Wedding

Sour Icelandic comedy "White Night Wedding" provides few laughs and less rooting value.

With:
With: Hilmir Snaer Gudnason, Margret Vilhjalmsdottir, Laufey Eliasdottir, Throstur Leo Gunnarsson, Johann Sigurdarson, Olafia Hronn Jonsdottir, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Ilmur Kristjansdottir, Olafur Egill Egilsson.

Sour Icelandic comedy “White Night Wedding” provides few laughs and less rooting value as a middle-aged academic and his much younger fiancee count down the hours to a ceremony they’re right to have second thoughts about. Flashbacks to the groom’s prior union with an unstable artist only add more discord, if little depth, to a movie that aims for cranky humor but comes off as cynically unappealing instead. Though a home-turf hit, this lesser effort for Baltasar Kormakur (“101 Reykjavik,” “The Sea”) will find spotty exposure abroad.

Primary thread in a story inspired by Chekhov’s “Ivanov” charts 24 hours leading to planned nuptials between widower Jon (Hilmir Snaer Gudnason) and former student Thora (Laufey Eliasdottir) on north-coast island Flatey. Nearly everyone — particularly her money-obsessed mother (Olafia Hronn Jonsdottir) and the local reverend (co-scenarist Olafur Egill Egilsson) — thinks the marriage is a bad idea, as do the intendeds themselves. Thora wants to rescue Jon, but he fears he’s using her to escape the lingering bad vibes of a manic-depressive late wife (Margret Vilhjalmsdottir). Despite various drunken wedding-party antics and histrionics, levity, poignancy and insight all fall short. Presentation is polished.

White Night Wedding

Iceland

Production: A Blueeyes production. Produced by Agnes Johansen, Baltasar Kormakur. Executive producers, Lilja Palmadottir, Kim Magnuson. Directed by Baltasar Kormakur. Screenplay, Kormakur, Olafur Egill Egilsson.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Bergsteinn Bjorgulfsson; editor, Elisabet Ronaldsdottir; music, Sigurdur Bjola Gardarsson; production designers, Atli Geir Gretarsson, Gretar Reytnisson. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 11, 2008. . Running time: 97 MIN.

With: With: Hilmir Snaer Gudnason, Margret Vilhjalmsdottir, Laufey Eliasdottir, Throstur Leo Gunnarsson, Johann Sigurdarson, Olafia Hronn Jonsdottir, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Ilmur Kristjansdottir, Olafur Egill Egilsson.

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