These days we’re used to seeing Keanu Reeves as a relentless killer in the latest chapter of John Wick, but today I’d like to bring you a completely different character in this hilarious 2018 movie, Destination Wedding.
In this comedy, the actor plays the taciturn and grumpy Frank, who accidentally meets the quirky and obsessive Lindsay on their way to the same wedding.
Besides sharing an invitation to an event they would instead not attend, they both harbor the same disdain for Keith, the groom-to-be.
Indeed he is both Frank’s hated half-brother, obviously preferred by the family for his more socially acceptable behaviors, and he is also Lindsay’s ex-boyfriend, whom she even took to court by suing him after their breakup.
Initially, these strange figures seem only to irritate each other, especially when she accuses him of trying to get ahead in the line at the airport.
However, when they discover how is boring this three-day happening in the desolate Paso Robles countryside, their relationship quickly evolves from a superficial acquaintance to a complicated friendship.
Moreover, fate appears intent on kicking in, forcing them to share neighboring seats on the plane and the same car-for-guests from the airport and adjoining rooms in the hotel.
Forced to relate to this situation of imposed proximity, they soon discover much in common and, day by day, begin reevaluating their fears, insecurities, and past failures.
After an absurd sexual relationship in the middle of a vineyard, their lonely hearts, therefore, finally start to beat together.
However, it is not easy to open up to each other and give happiness a second chance, despite how obviously they were united by an invisible thread, which led them into each other’s arms.
The cynical love of modern times
Director and screenwriter Victor Levin make things clear from the opening title with this sentence: a narcissist cannot die because then the entire world would end.
This appears immediately after the two main characters meet, and it is with this premise we must watch this underrated 2018 movie, the adventure of two cynical misanthropes forced to participate in something as stupid and ridiculous as a Destination Wedding event.
Before I waste your time, I want to warn those bored with long and complicated dialogue: stay away because this comedy is a long and complex hour-and-a-half-long dialogue.
Yet the pace is fantastic, and the chemistry of hate/love and complicity/hostility between the two leads is wonderfully bittersweet and melancholy.
Every word of their dialogue drips with nastiness toward a world outwardly mean to them, compelling them to take refuge in a feeling-proof fortress to the outside world.
Moreover, what I appreciated most was the self-irony of these bizarre personalities. Fortunately, this amusing defense mechanism keeps them safe from self-pity and keeps the story from becoming a tear-jerking drama.
Instead, even in the most awkward and cruel moments, the light of optimism always shines behind this man and woman with a totally pessimistic and negative soul.
I don’t think I have ever seen a more entertaining sex scene than they have in the fields, shortly after miraculously escaping an attack by an aggressive cougar.
It is impressive to see two big stars like Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder put aside fame and glory to humbly step into the shoes of these wacky outsiders.
Besides a direction and screenplay that never forgets it is a comedy, the performance of these two actors is alone worth watching the movie.
Acting with realism and humility
We can sum up the entire cast with two actors: Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder.
Indeed, although they are among numerous people in most scenes, the director focuses solely on them and their dialogues.
No offense to Mr. Reeves, but it almost seems as if he shot this movie between pauses in the filming of John Wick.
His appearance is absolutely identical to the famous hitman, as is his badass attitude, which is almost uncaring in most situations.
However, the actor leaves behind the pain and revenge of the action saga to take an equally straightforward journey into the soul of a lone wolf who is ironically proud to be one.
Having seen this movie multiple times from 2018 to now, I cannot think of a better companion for this man to attend a Destination Wedding with than Winona Ryder.
Right from the start, she is adorable with her bizarre daily rituals, such as talking to herself on the bed or confiding in plants, equally fun as the indecipherable throat sounds the man constantly makes from his mouth.
Far from the fantasy romance of movies like Edward Scissorhands, the actress does not forget her comic streak and combines her eternal youthful beauty with a more mature and grumpy perspective on the world and people.
Probably, in real life, none of us would endure these two figures longer than five minutes without trying to strangle them.
Yet, we will miss these two lovable freaks enormously when we reach the conclusion of this play that flies by in one breath.
I need help understanding the distribution logic for such a movie, which has remained unknown to most of the general public for no apparent reason.