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The 32 year old bachelor (Hugh Grant) who is best man at other people’s weddings, is finally smitten by an American girl (Andie MacDowell) but she proves not only elusive – but about to marry someone else. The comic and eccentric British group of friends who surround the would be lovers would complicate anyone’s life even when they try to help.

The film that not only made Hugh Grant a star, Andie MacDowell a dish, and Rowan Atkinson, well, Rowan Atkinson, also made romantic movies popular again. Four Weddings and a Funeral is a perennial favourite for lovers of Hugh Grant, marriage and serial monogamy, and it hasn't lost much in time. We still like seeing the world's biggest fop fall well and truly for American socialite MacDowell, and the comings and goings of his very English friends.

The intro is still the best part of the film, as Grant and housemate Charlotte Colemon rush to another wedding, having overslept, swearing "F***, f***, f***ety-f***!" all the way to the church. From there on, the whole movie is like a big in-joke for anyone who's attended a wedding (especially tardy), contemplated being in one, or said the vows themselves. It can be a day of dreams or nightmares, and fortunately the filmmakers know that nightmares make better comedy (writer Richard Curtis was also responsible for Mr Bean, Black Adder, and Not the Nine O'Clock News).

Despite being a well-loved film, the DVD transfer adds precious few extras. There's a lazy 7-minute behind-the-scenes feature that actually gives no insight into the making. Whenever something is about to happen, we jump to another scene of the cast milling about, waiting for the director to yell action.

In the lengthier production feature, cast and crew are interviewed on set. We discover how Grant auditioned by sending director Mike Newell a tape of him speaking as best man at his brother's wedding. That Andie MacDowell actually had a hippyish wedding on a mountain overlooking Lake Taho with a friend playing Jimmi Hendrix. And that Simon Callow, who plays Grant's deaf brother, was in fact a deaf actor. Strangely absent is any word from Rowan Atkinson or Kristen Scott Thomas (in a supporting role here). Absent too is any kind of commentary - even cast and crew bios are omitted. Hardly one for the library, but then again, hopeless romantics can't help themselves, can they?
Shannon J. Harvey

Published July 19, 2001

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CAST: Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, Kristen Scott Thomas, Simon Callow, James
Fleet, Charlotte Coleman, John Hannah, David Bower, Corin Redgrave, Rowan

DIRECTOR: Mike Newell

PRODUCER: Duncan Kenworthy

WRITER: Richard Curtis

RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Magna Pacific Pty Ltd

DVD RELEASE: April 9, 2001

Interactive menus; Scene selections; Theatrical trailer; Behind the scenes; Production feature

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