Film: Muriel's Wedding

"You're terrible, Muriel."

An Australian ‘rom-com’ starring Toni Collette as Muriel, a woman stuck in a rut living with her parents in a dead end town. She’s getting desperate for success and for her that means finding a man and getting married, no matter what the cost.

Yes, this is shmaltzy and no, it isn’t exactly hard hitting, but Muriel’s Wedding entertains in a way few films of its genre do. It’s equally witty and broad, endearing and cold.

Collette seriously put on the pounds for the role and it wasn’t a wasted effort, she’s great here and puts on a wonderfully physical performance without mugging or trying too hard.

The relationship with her old school friend is fun to watch, but sadly as the film drives on its twists and turns become less and less plausible. It’s a little rushed, which is a shame considering it’s a central part of the screenplay. The family storyline also needed to be either better developed, or not in the film at all.

Despite its failings, Muriel’s Wedding presents its story with pizazz and gives us a refreshing take on the romantic comedy. It’s not quite The Shop Around the Corner or When Harry Met Sally, but it’s a cut above the swill rom-com fans are usually subjected to, probably one of the upsides of not coming out of Hollywood.

P.J. Hogan | 1994 | IMDB | Wikipedia