Love Wedding Marriage

A movie that starts off with a wedding is usually going to see things go bad before they get better. Defying this common wisdom, "Love Wedding Marriage" never gets better at all.

With: Mandy Moore, Kellan Lutz, James Brolin, Jane Seymour, Jessica Szohr, Michael Weston, Marta Zmuda-Trzebiatowska, Richard Reid, Christopher Lloyd, Colleen Camp.

A movie that starts off with a wedding is usually going to see things go bad before they get better. Defying this common wisdom, “Love Wedding Marriage” never gets better at all. Chemistry-free romantic comedy has name power behind it, including Dermot Mulroney, making his directorial debut with a movie he likely wouldn’t appear in. VOD may offer some hope.

“Our happily ever after was about to begin,” coos Eva (Mandy Moore), the film’s just-married marriage therapist (really), whose new life with Charlie (Kellan Lutz) is off to a rocky start — not because of Charlie, but because her parents (James Brolin, Jane Seymour) are getting a divorce. No one’s objecting except Eva, whose world is rocked.

While the pic is never more than a formulaic, how-do-we-fix-this domestic procedural, those things it never quite explains do generate some intrigue: Why has Dad become an Orthodox Jew, lighting his home with candles on the Sabbath? How the heck did Eva become a marriage counselor? And, most glaringly, what’s the deal with Charlie and his copper-colored dye job, waxed torso and gym-rat physique? It would appear that Eva has bigger problems on her hands than her parents’ divorce.

Performances range from wooden to hysterical, and it’s largely due to Mulroney’s inexperience behind the camera — the dropped-jaw reaction shots and tendency to overplay all seem uncharacteristic for most of these thesps. The one bright exception is Brolin, who may be inhabiting a weird role, but at least Dad is specific, well defined and unlike anything the actor has done before. One doesn’t have to like the character, but Brolin admirably defies expectations and disappears into the part.

Circling the principals, and apparently showing some love for Mulroney, are Christopher Lloyd and Colleen Camp as two freakazoid marriage counselors, and the voice (during a phone call to Eva) of Julia Roberts, who once upon a time starred with Mulroney in “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”

Production values are adequate.

Love Wedding Marriage

Production: An IFC Films release presented with Chydzik Media Group of a Michelle Chydzik Sowa, Voodoo Pictures production in association with Scion Films, 120dB Films. Produced by Michelle Chydzik Sowa. Executive producers, Michael Arata, Jerry Daigle, Natalia Chydzik, Jeff Abberley, Julia Blackman, Stephen Hays, Peter Graham, Nathalie Marciano, Stefan Jacobs, Gary Raskin, Daniel March. Directed by Dermot Mulroney. Screenplay, Caprice Crane, Anouska Chydzik Bryson.

Crew: Camera (color), Ottar Gudnason; editor, Heather Persons; music, Blake Neely; music supervisor, Andy Ross; production designer, Carlos Menendez; costume designer, Antoinette Messam; sound (Dolby Digital); line producer, Joel Hatch; associate producer, Jenny Cadena; casting, Nancy Nayor. Reviewed at Broadway screening room, New York, April 11, 2011. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 91 MIN.

With: With: Mandy Moore, Kellan Lutz, James Brolin, Jane Seymour, Jessica Szohr, Michael Weston, Marta Zmuda-Trzebiatowska, Richard Reid, Christopher Lloyd, Colleen Camp.

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