SECOND HAND WEDDING
Jill Rose (Geraldine Brophy) has spent years frequenting garage sales, partly in preparation for her daughter Cheryl's (Holly Shanahan) eventual wedding by sourcing second-hand bargains to be used on the big day. But when her boyfriend Stew (Ryan O'Kane) proposes - and tells her dad, Brian (Patrick Wilson) - Cheryl is reluctant to tell her mum, fearing a reception filled with second hand items. But keeping the news secret leads to inevitable conflict with her mum and threatens the family unit.
Review by Louise Keller:
A sweet film that toys with relationships, passions and bargains, Second Hand Wedding embraces the notion that there is more than a bargain to be found at garage sales. Memories, friendships and love are some of things that rate higher on the importance meter than profits, although in New Zealander Paul Murphy's debut film, they are all shaken together helter skelter, and in the mix, we meet some unforgettable characters. The scale is small and the journey often predictable; it's a good natured film whose heart is firmly in the right place.
Someone's trash is someone's treasure goes the expression and in the case of Geraldine Brophy's Jill Rose, who has been a garage sale addict all her life, it is clear that beyond her stash of kitch gnomes, vases and silver candelabras, she is the treasure. Brophy does a great job of the frenetic Jill, whose killer-instinct in the bargaining stakes is a stark contradiction to what she realizes is truly important.
We first meet Jill doing what she does best - driving at top speed to the nearest garage sale with best friend Muffy (Tina Regtien, terrific). Linda Niccol and Nick Ward's screenplay grounds Jill as we are introduced to her husband Brian (Patrick Wilson), who has a passion for vintage Fords, her daughter Cheryl (Holly Shanahan) who has been embarrassed once too often by her mother's bargaining streak, her colleague Gracie (Vivien Bell) with whom she has had a major falling out and her future son-in-law Stew (Ryan O'Kane), whose boss is married to the entertaining and larger-than-life Sugarpuff (memorably played by Tina Cook). There's also a subplot involving professional second hand dealer Desmond (Ray Henwood), the bane of his life being 'the gifted amateur' and Jill's own passion for 70s pop idol John Rowles, which true to form has its own pay off.
The nuts and bolts of the film lie, not in the car that Brian is building in the garage, but in the relationship between mother and daughter. Holly Shanahan, excellent as Cheryl, who desperately wants to own something that no-one has owned before, is determined that her upcoming nuptials will not end up being another circus of cut-price bargains for which her mother is renowned. Uplifting and enjoyable enough for the undemanding, Second Hand Wedding takes its unique premise and allows it to take flight - especially in its final scenes, when all the story strands meld as the characters show their true colours.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Second Hand Wedding is a telemovie sized film that holds up on the big screen thanks largely to the two standout performances of Geraldine Brophy as Jill and Holly Shanahan as her daughter Cheryl. Both create such tangible characters and deliver the film's emotional payoff with such sincerity that they burn their mark into our cinematic memory.
The film begins as a slight and unengaging affair as first time director Paul Murphy establishes Jill's weekend foray into garage sales on the hunt for bargains - of any kind - accompanied by her fellow sale junkie, Muffy (Tina Regtien, excellent). Jill's buoyant personality, her natural warmth and charisma carry the film through this slow patch as the plot unfolds with Stew's (Ryan O'Kane) proposal. As it progresses, the film wears down our resistance - our cynicism and scepticism - with its folksy charm and good natured look at a seaside New Zealand community. (A couple of superb shots of the scenery...)
Patrick Wilson is terrific in the difficult role of the likeable, supportive husband to the outgoing Jill, and so is Vivien Bell as Gracie, the teacher at school who resents Jill getting an early promotion. Brian's vintage Ford renovations and Gracie's sulking provide material for added texture and the screenplay makes good use of them. Supports are all tops, notably the bubbly Sugarpuff, played with zeal by Tina Cook.
Entertaining and engaging (after the first half hour or so), Second Hand Wedding is ideal for those who wish to avoid sex, drugs, rock n'roll ... and violence. Maintaining a steady tone of gentle exploration into a close knit community, it delivers an upbeat and satisfying ending.
Published first in the Sun-Herald
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GERALDINE BROPHY INTERVIEW
SECOND HAND WEDDING (PG)
CAST: Holly Shanahan, Ryan O'Kane, Geraldine Brophy, Jed Brophy, Patrick Wilson, Vivien Bell, Tina Regtien, Tina Cook, Ray Henwood, John Rowles
PRODUCER: Paul Murphy
DIRECTOR: Paul Murphy
SCRIPT: Linda Niccol (original script Nick Ward)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Richard Bluck
EDITOR: Michael Horton
MUSIC: Plan 9
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Brad Mill
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Potential & Arkles
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 29, 2010