Sweetly screwball with a decidedly left-of-center streak, writer/director Michael Ian Black's Wedding Daze (previously titled The Pleasure of Your Company) is a charming romantic comedy that tries, fitfully, to break a very familiar mold and succeeds only slightly. Black's debut behind the camera -- comedy junkies know of Black as part of the late, great The State and Stella troupes, as well as a fixture on VH1's pop culture-y "I Love the ..." series -- often skids in unexpected directions, but thanks to the earnest nature of his screenplay and the appealing charisma of his cast, Wedding Daze feels more cohesive than it really is.
It certainly starts with a ballsy premise: The well-intentioned Anderson (Jason Biggs, playing a role he could inhabit in his sleep) proposes to long-time love Vanessa (Audra Blaser), only to have her keel over dead. Understandably shattered by this development, Anderson mourns her loss and refuses to move on, until his best friend William (Chris Diamantoupoulos) goads him into asking a random stranger, Katie (Isla Fisher) to marry him. You might think you know where this is all going, but Black delights in throwing curveballs.
He certainly assembled a game cast -- aside from Biggs and Fisher, Mark Consuelos (Mr. Kelly Ripa), Rob Corddry, Joanna Gleason, Joe Pantoliano, Edward Herrmann and Margo Martindale all turn in performances of varying degrees of insanity. After all, this is a film that thinks nothing of dropping in some Russian circus folk, kinky parental foreplay or clumsy, toothpaste-enhanced sex. Black's idiosyncratic sense of humor provides many of the funniest, raunchiest moments in Wedding Daze, but a clear affinity for the characters tempers even the grossest moments.
Wedding Daze played in theaters around the world, but never got a shot here in the States, which is a shame. It's not a revolutionary work or even a particularly classic one, but rather a solidly executed flick with a few modest ambitions and just enough giddy freshness to make it worth checking out. Perhaps with a few more films under his belt, Black can blossom into our generation's own warped Woody Allen.
Presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer of its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, Wedding Daze boasts the palette and composition of your standard issue rom-com. Clear and clean for the most part, there are nagging moments of haloing that pop up every so often.
A few well-chosen pop songs and plenty of snide asides are on display throughout, so the Dolby Digital 5.1 track doesn't languish. There are optional English, French and Spanish subtitles.
The supplements are woefully slim - only a handful of deleted/alternate scenes, playable separately or all together for an aggregate of around five minutes (presented in non-anamorphic widescreen).
Sweetly screwball with a decidedly left-of-center streak, writer/director Michael Ian Black's Wedding Daze (previously titled The Pleasure of Your Company) is a charming romantic comedy that tries, fitfully, to break a very familiar mold and succeeds only slightly. Perhaps with a few more films under his belt, Black can blossom into our generation's own warped Woody Allen. Rent it.