Friday, May 30, 2008

Second Hand Wedding, a film by Paul Murphy (2008)

It was by some sort of appropriate coincidence that I went to Roy Shuker's talk about the slightly obsessive nature of record collecting today. Jill Rose (Geraldine Brophy) is a bit of a fanatic when it comes to bargain hunting at garage sales: she has a good eye for valuable items, but brings home a whole lot of kitschy crap (little blue name holding gnomes are a good example). She's lucky in her choice of husband: Brian (Patrick Wilson) is gentle, solves everything with a cup of tea and is a bit of a hoarder himself. The entire movie hangs on this rather slender premise concerning Jill's hobby: surprisingly, it works and the movie is just wonderful, funny, very Kiwi (the sole reveiwer on IMDB wonders if it would be understood outside of Wellington) but with just the right touch of sadness to give the movie an emotional appeal. I found myself on the verge of happy tears a number of times.

We see an example of how mum operates when Cheryl Rose (named in honour of Cheryl Moana Maree, the song by John Rowles, upon whom Jill had a crush) talks about getting a pet (quite why she's doing this is another story): mum is immediately getting things sorted at various garage sales, and arrives home not only with a puppy, but books, feed, blankets, everything a puppy owner could possibly want and more. So when Cheryl and Stu get engaged, it is understandable that Cheryl might have a nightmarish vision of what her wedding would be like if her mum had anything to do with organising it, and would want something new, all to herself, rather than yet more second hand bargains, and so be fearful of telling her mum.

Of course, they live in a small community, so it is inevitable that word will get to Jill anyway (via another sub-plot involving Jill's erstwhile friend Gracie). This gets Jill off-side with both Cheryl and Brian, who's had a real hard time keeping this secret from her. It is a comedy, so of course things happen to resolve these tensions, along with seeing various singletons find their true love along the way.

I did think the actors took a while to warm to their roles - it took me some time to believe in the relationship between Cheryl and Stu, but that might have been because they were pretty low key and had a teasing way of being with each other: the audience's first sight of these two is when Cheryl is getting her car from the mechanic, and they pretend they are customer and mechanic, when it turns out that the mechanic is Stu, the fellow she's been living with for a year. The three guys in the garage were wonderful - I loved the scene when Stu's boss is basically dropping Stu in it when the boss's wife takes over the wedding organisation. And speaking of the wedding, it couldn't have ended any other way: John Rowles had to be there.



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