×

Samoan Wedding

The big, burly "Samoan Wedding" is a shrewdly written, impeccably timed and audaciously played romantic comedy about four thirtysomething slacker buddies in New Zealand forced to clean up their acts and find respectable dates in order to attend a best mate's wedding. Comedy will play gangbusters in all situations on all platforms.

With:
With: Oscar Kightley, Iaheto Ah Hi, Robbie Magasiva, Shimpal Lelisi, Teuila Blakely, Madeleine Sami, David Fane, Maryjane McKibbin-Schwenke, Pua Magasiva, David Van Horn, Nathaniel Lees, Ana Tuigamala.

The big, burly “Samoan Wedding” is a shrewdly written, impeccably timed and audaciously played romantic comedy about four thirtysomething slacker buddies in New Zealand forced to clean up their acts and find respectable dates in order to attend a best mate’s wedding. Pic, known as “Sione’s Wedding” in the Southern Hemisphere — where it broke the opening weekend Kiwi box office record in late March 2006 — is being sold under the current name elsewhere by London-based HanWay films. Under any title, this is an instantly exportable comedy that will play gangbusters in all situations on all platforms.

Though action is set among the sizeable Samoan community in an Auckland suburb, the affable but irresponsible quartet around which events revolve are immediately identifiable as Peter Pan types. Albert (co-writer/co-producer Oscar Kightley) is a good-natured office drone who lives with his mom; Michael (Robbie Magasiva) is a hunky Lothario with a weakness for white women; Sefa (Shimpal Lelisi) actually has a girlfriend, Leilani (Teuila Blakely), but keeps forgetting this in his enthusiasm for the next party; Stanley (Iaheto Ah Hi) is so busy trying to find the perfect woman through dating services that the world’s passing him by. Formerly members of an early 1990s break-dancing crew called the “Duckrockers,” they’ve pretty much ceased to mature.

When their local minister (Nathaniel Lees) confronts them with vid evidence of their immature behavior at previous nuptials, the boys work hard to persuade him to let them attend the wedding of Micheal’s brother Sione (Pua Magasiva) — but only if they find suitable, legit dates.

Balance of the pic charts these often howlingly funny efforts, which grow to include Albert’s co-worker Tania (Madeline Sami); gorgeous but treacherous cousin Princess (Maryjane McKibbin-Schwenke); Sefa’s naive cousin Paul, aka Bolo (David Fane); and white gangsta wannabe Derek (David Van Horn).

Pic’s stopwatch-tight comedic timing was developed by Kightley and a chunk of the cast in the long-running Naked Samoans touring theater troupe. There’s not a weak link in the sizeable cast, with each principal assigned just enough screen time to give depth to caricature.

Tech credits are pro, with former musicvid helmer Chris Graham making full use of the widescreen frame for skilled physical comedy. Toe-tapping tunes mix hip-hop and pop acts from the stable of Auckland-based record label Dawn Raid Entertainment.

Samoan Wedding

New Zealand

Production: A South Pacific Pictures presentation in association with the New Zealand Film Commission, NZ on Air, Village SkyCity Cinemas, Joseph P. Moodabe. (International sales: HanWay Films, London.) Produced by John Barnett, Chloe Smith. Executive producers, Paul Davis, Mark Horowitz. Directed by Chris Graham. Screenplay, James Griffin, Oscar Kightley.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Aaron Morton; editor, Paul Maxwell; music, Andy Morton, Dawn Raid Entertainment; costume designer, Jane Holland; sound mixer (Dolby Digital), Tony Johnson; associate producers, Griffin, Kightley; assistant director, Joe Nolan. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Focus on World Cinema), Sept. 1, 2006 Running time: 97 MIN.

With: With: Oscar Kightley, Iaheto Ah Hi, Robbie Magasiva, Shimpal Lelisi, Teuila Blakely, Madeleine Sami, David Fane, Maryjane McKibbin-Schwenke, Pua Magasiva, David Van Horn, Nathaniel Lees, Ana Tuigamala.

More Film

  • Come as You Are review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Come as You Are'

    The rare remake that’s actually a slight improvement on its predecessor, Richard Wong’s “Come as You Are” translates Geoffrey Enthoven’s 2011 Belgian “Hasta la Vista” to middle America. Other changes are less substantial, but this seriocomedy has a less formulaic feel than the original while remaining a crowd-pleasing buddy pic-caper with a soft-pedaled minority empowerment [...]

  • Strange Negotiations review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Strange Negotiations'

    In a era when some mainstream entertainers have transitioned to targeting faith-based audiences, David Bazan is moving in the other direction. The gifted songwriter’s ersatz band Pedro the Lion was perhaps the most successful Christian indie rock act of its time, and the first to significantly cross over to secular fans. Then he ditched that persona (and [...]

  • Bluebird review

    SXSW Film Review: ‘Bluebird’

    As affectionate as a love letter but as substantial as an infomercial, Brian Loschiavo’s “Bluebird” may be of most interest to casual and/or newly converted country music fans who have occasionally wondered about the songwriters behind the songs. There’s a better than even-money chance that anyone who’s a loyal and longtime aficionado of the musical [...]

  • ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad

    ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending for the Fourth Week in a Row

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the fourth week in row with “Wonder Park.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.18 million through Sunday for 1,718 national [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan Jordan Vogt-Roberts

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan, Jordan Vogt-Roberts Team for Monster Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan is producing a creature feature, billiards champ Cisero Murphy is getting a movie, the sixth Terminator movie gets a title, and Graham King receives an honor. PROJECT UNVEILED More Reviews SXSW Film Review: 'Come as You Are' SXSW Film Review: 'Strange Negotiations' New Regency and Michael B. [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Nicolas Cage to Star in Martial Arts Actioner 'Jiu Jitsu'

    Nicolas Cage will star in the martial arts actioner “Jiu Jitsu,” based on the comic book of the same name. The cast will also include Alain Moussi, who stars in the “Kickboxer” franchise. Dimitri Logothetis is producing with Martin Barab and directing from a script he wrote with Jim McGrath. Highland Film Group is handling [...]

  • Chinese success of Thai film "Bad

    Chinese, Thai Shingles Pact for Co-Production Fund at FilMart

    A deal to establish a 100 million yuan ($14.9 million) co-production fund between China and Thailand was struck at FilMart on Tuesday to help launch TV and film projects that will appeal to Chinese and Southeast Asian audience. The deal that was struck by China’s Poly Film Investment Co., TW Capital from Thailand and Thai [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content