Movie Review: “Love, Weddings & Other Disasters”

There’s a whiff of a half-interesting screen romance in the multi-character episodic rom-com “Love, Weddings & Other Disasters.”

Oscar winner Jeremy Irons plays a stiff, snobby Boston caterer who is “set up” with a “blind date.” The date is played by Diane Keaton, playing a photographer (like Keaton herself). And she is literally “blind.” That’s the gag.

“Are you handsome?” she chirps in that beloved, scattered way of hers.

“No,” he intones. “I’m ancient!”

They go out, under duress. He makes all manner of blunders — from rearranging her furniture to leaving her a note on the pillow in the morning. Perhaps, she fumes, she’s dating “the dumbest guy in history.”

We don’t really find out as that intriguing December romance is lost in the coarse hairs of this Dennis Dugan dog. He’s the sometime actor — he takes a role he’s 25 years too old to pull off, here — turned director of the comedies of Adam Sandler, and he directed and scripted (from others’ story ideas) this meshuga mess of a movie.

Dugan tries — hard — to play it sweeter, but he can’t help but lean into the lowbrow. It’s in his Adam Sandler comedy DNA at this point.

Maggie Grace plays a young woman with catering ambitions inexplicably hurled into a career as wedding planner when the demanding young bride-to-be of the guy who might be “your next mayor” impulsively makes her the fifth wedding planner they’re giving a try — just eight days from the big, splashy wedding.

But Jessie (Grace) has an open secret that everybody in Boston — save for candidate and bride and candidate’s staff — seems to know. She broke up a Boston TV anchor in mid-skydive (his call) and became the viral video “Wedding Trasher” when she dumped him in a lake and floated into/tackled the entire wedding party, standing on a dock.

OK, that’s funny.

Jessie could find love when she hires a bar band (Diego Boneta). It’s underdeveloped and set up as dull, although there’s a musical payoff in it that at least makes this romance worth pursuing.

Then there’s the mayor’s brother (Andy Goldenberg) who has signed on to this “Crash Couples” reality TV show (Dugan plays the host), literally chained to a woman as one of several couples competing to see who lasts longest and wins a million bucks.

Svetlana…or Olga…maybe Natasha? (Melinda Hill) claims to be a Harvard lawyer, but is actually a pole dancer with an angry Russian pimp on her case. Time to tap out and break the chain?

“Don’t be poosy,” she fumes, in worst Russian accent ever.

Andrew Bachelor of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” plays an amphibious duckboat tour guide whose “hysterical history” isn’t actually — unless you count his boner reference to “Betty Ross.” He meets someone he decides is his soulmate on such a tour, and his search for the young woman with a glass slipper tattooed on her neck becomes a Boston cause celebre.

A nice touch? Casting bluesy singer songwriter Elle King as a Greek chorus offering interludes between story threads

A couple of random laughs die of loneliness here. None of the romances are developed and have time to register, much less click. And here’s Dugan, squinting at the cue cards, energetically serving up the awful double-entendres as host of a show no one would watch unless creepy grandpa the host was a LOT creepier and funnier.

Keaton and Irons? They keep their dignity, do their romantic best, enjoy their stay in Boston and cash the check.

Cast: Diane Keaton, Jeremy Irons, Maggie Grace, Andrew Bachelor, Diego Boneta and Dennis Dugan.

Credits: Scripted and directed by Dennis Dugan. A Saban Films release.

Running time: 1:30

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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