Love on two sides of the world

On Your Wedding Day, starring Park Bo-young (left) and Kim Young-kwang, is laugh-out-loud funny. Destination Wedding features lots of banter between Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder.
Destination Wedding features lots of banter between Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder.PHOTOS: SHAW ORGANISATION, MM2 ENTERTAINMENT
On Your Wedding Day, starring Park Bo-young (left) and Kim Young-kwang, is laugh-out-loud funny. Destination Wedding features lots of banter between Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder.
On Your Wedding Day, starring Park Bo-young (left) and Kim Young-kwang, is laugh-out-loud funny. PHOTOS: SHAW ORGANISATION, MM2 ENTERTAINMENT

Too much dialogue drags one film down, while distance and silence lift the other

REVIEW / ROMANTIC COMEDIES

DESTINATION WEDDING (M18)

87 minutes/Opens today/2.5 stars

ON YOUR WEDDING DAY (NC16)

110 minutes/Opens today/4.5 stars

One would have to really like Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder to enjoy Destination Wedding.

Nothing much happens in the 11/2-hour running time, so the film banks solely on the characters' chemistry.

And if the pair's quickfire - and very often improvised - banter does not suit your taste, then this movie is not for you.

After all, the two leads are the only characters with any dialogue - and boy, is there a lot of it.

This is a surprisingly talky film, but without the natural, authentic charm of Richard Linklater's Before trilogy (1995, 2004 and 2013), which had also featured its two leads chatting endlessly.

Instead, Reeves and Ryder appear to be trying so hard to constantly outdo each other in wit and cynicism that their conversations often ring false.

"Don't you believe there is someone for everyone?" she asks him at one point.

To which Reeves replies, in his signature monotone: "Close - I believe there is nobody for anyone."

The two 1990s icons play strangers who meet at an airport as they are on their way to attend the same wedding in a small Californian town.

They have nothing in common, except that they both harbour contempt for everyone and everything around them.

Oh, and the groom in question is her ex-fiance and his hated brother so, naturally, they end up bonding.

It is evident that the two stars enjoyed themselves in their roles as they rattled off their lines.

The long-time friends are comfortable in each other's presence, after having worked closely on three other movies, including Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992).

It is too bad they will be the only ones having fun.

A much better romantic comedy opening this week, On Your Wedding Day, comes from South Korea, which has practically got the formula down pat.

That means that there are few surprises here - the couple, played by Park Bo-young and Kim Young-kwang, are your usual good-looking and effortlessly charming K-film leads, while everything that the guy does for her is Prince Charming-sweet.

Even with the fairy-tale elements though, their story, which spans many years, is a more convincing one than Destination Wedding.

Here, the couple start off as high-school students (the baby-faced stars are surprisingly believable) who become close friends after they start skipping school together.

He falls head over heels in love with her and the strong romantic feelings last well into their adulthood, even though various elements continue to pull them apart.

Much of the film is laugh-out-loud funny - there are plenty of verbal misunderstandings, while the lanky 1.87m-tall male lead delivers on the physical gags.

But the small bittersweet moments throughout their relationship are what make this movie shine.

Love is all about timing, he says, and the movie does well to showcase all of the couple's missed opportunities and things left unsaid.

Sometimes, distance and silence make a bigger impact in a love story.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2018, with the headline 'Love on two sides of the world'. Print Edition | Subscribe