Chase provides all of the thrill
By Mark Jenkins
Friday, September 21, 2012
“Silly” and “contrived” are usually put-downs, but not for a screwball comedy such as “You May Not Kiss the Bride.” Its lunacy is well staged and fast-paced. Too bad the movie’s premise is so lame that the nimbler moments can’t redeem it.
The story opens in a tourist-brochure Chicago, where Bryan (Dave Annable, of TV’s “Brothers and Sisters”) is working as a pet photographer. That gig is one step down from pet detective and complicated by a new assistant, the maniacally flirtatious Tonya (Mena Suvari). Then a canine client attacks a feline one, which brings Bryan to the malevolent attention of the cat’s owner, Croatian gangster Vadik (“Borat” co-star Ken Davitian).
Vadik makes Bryan a wedding proposal he can’t refuse: Marry his daughter so she can get a green card. But don’t touch her during the Tahitian honeymoon, because her true intended, British enforcer Brick (“Snatch” thug Vinnie Jones), is brutal and jealous.
Bryan is understandably reluctant but gets more interested when he meets his shotgun fiancee. Masha (2006 “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee) is beautiful and gracious and, curiously, has not a trace of a Croatian accent.
So the two marry and fly to Tahiti, where the final leg of their journey is mangled by crazed chopper pilot Ernesto (Rob Schneider), who does have some sort of accent. The couple is happy to escape him, but he’ll be back. Because bikini-clad Masha is about to be abducted, and Bryan will need the help of Ernesto and resort hostess Lani (onetime “Wayne’s World” love goddess Tia Carrere). Also in Tahiti are Brick, two kidnappers and Tonya, who has followed Bryan in hopes of breaking up the marriage she doesn’t know is a sham. Kathy Bates remains off-island, playing the mother who stays in touch with Bryan by phone.
Director Rob Hedden, who also scripted, shows limited comprehension of several elements of his own scenario, including the behavior of cats and dogs and the basics of U.S. immigration law. (Why would someone without a green card leave the country for her honeymoon?) But Hedden does understand slapstick. During the movie’s kidnap and chase scenes, the director turns the hapless villains into a gang of Wile E. Coyotes; they slip, crash and fall, and one of them even gets his head stuck in a bucket. “You May Not Kiss the Bride” would be much more amusing if Hedden had treated the rest of the story with such gleeful, and utterly justified, disrespect.
Contains cartoon violence, sexual references and rude humor. In English and a bit of Tahitian with English subtitles.