December 2, 2023 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Laughing All the Way to the Altar:

Movie marriages are often funny. They take place in unlikely places, at the most inopportune times, and, more often than not, between people who might not even get to meet in real life.

If you want to get into the mood for a forthcoming wedding, why not kick back with some classic (and funny) film weddings? Here are a few easy cinematic nuptials for you and your main squeeze.

Little Murders, (1971) is a savage farce about life in New York City and how it can affect a relationship. Its wedding sequence takes place at an “alternative church” with Donald Sutherland as a “hippie” minister. It’s a wildly anarchistic ceremony, and, to quote one college student: “I wouldn’t mind getting married if it was a ceremony like that.”

Probably no one dreams of a ceremony like the one at the end of Lethal Weapon IV (1998). Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs finally realizes he has to marry his pregnant girlfriend Lorna (Rene Russo), but she’s already in the delivery room! The wacky impromptu wedding involves a rabbi and the use of a specimen jar as the glass that is traditionally broken at Jewish weddings—and the characters are not even Jewish!

In Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) the funniest wedding has got to be Wedding II, in which Charles (Hugh Grant) gets ragged on by several former girlfriends, and the minister who performs the ceremony mangles the words, i.e.: “Do you take this woman as your awful wedded wife?” Grant, as usual, can barely talk for being so cutesy, but it is usually agreed that this is his best role.

The Graduate (1967) still may hold the record for a bad-attitude wedding sequence, as its confused protagonist Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) wields a crucifix as a weapon in order to carry off his “true” love Elaine (Katharine Ross) from her church wedding to another man. It’s that final shot of the newlyweds on the bus that tells you all you need to know about the future of this marriage.

Some movies these days are serving up gross-outs with the romance, but a trailblazer in this area was Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven, whose Turkish Delight (1973) features a quickie wedding chapel frequented by pregnant brides, one of whom is in labor even during the ceremony (see Lethal Weapon IV). The gross-out that follows is even grosser than Lethal’s specimen jar gag.

And if you just want a wedding that will make you keep wondering afterwards, Preston Sturges’ classic The Palm Beach Story (1942) begins and ends with a wedding in which it is not clear who is marrying whom. By the end of this screwball comedy about a runaway wife, her pursuing husband, and a millionaire, the opening sequence seems to have been explained, but the wedding at the end may not be about what we think it is about. So enjoy the mystery and have a few laughs. SAd make sure that your own wedding is more organized and relaxed than these movie weddings—unless you do like life to be like the movies.

Contact Lynne Bronstein

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