Wedding comedy lacks depth

The Big Day features Desmond Tan (right) and Amber An.
The Big Day features Desmond Tan (right) and Amber An.PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES



84 minutes/Now showing/2.5 stars

The story: Xu Nuoyan (Desmond Tan) and An Shuyu (Amber An) are in the middle of a wedding dinner when things go awry. She flees the event, pursued by her groom. In a series of flashbacks, the strain she is under is revealed. All she wants is a simple wedding, but she is blocked at every turn, by her country bumpkin father Bawa (Michael Huang) and funeral home director father-in-law Ah Guan (Richard Low), among others.

This comedy about Shuyu (Taiwanese actress An) and the series of unfortunate events leading up to her wedding takes an interesting onion-layer approach in its story-telling - it opens with an intriguing scene of a runaway bride making for the hills down a familiar Singapore landmark, before moving back in time to show how she got there.

Along the way, writer-director Lee Thean-jeen (horror work Bring Back The Dead, 2015; comedy Everybody's Business, 2013) takes on larger social issues, such as the expectations of the younger generation versus those of the older.

Shuyu and Nuoyan (Tan) see the the event as a place to state their commitment to each other; for their parents, it is a declaration of status.

The sprawling script throws one obstacle after another at the hapless couple - from flash fires to medical emergencies to the sabotage of a jealous friend.

Every sling and arrow is borne with Job-like patience by the seemingly oblivious Shuyu and Nuoyan, until the opening scene's breaking point, of course.

While there are a couple of interesting threads here, such as the disagreement between the young and the old over what a wedding is supposed to mean, nothing is explored with any depth.

When the characters are not explicitly stating their feelings - Shuyu in fact breaks the fourth wall to narrate events - the time is filled with a series of broadly comical bits, generated by the band of eccentrics that surround the couple.

To Lee's credit, there are a couple of interludes that come from character, such as ones that reveal the affection the couple have for each other. The trouble is that as characters, the couple are as sanitised and blandly likeable as tap water and all the wackiness coming from the supporting players cannot make up for the absence of texture.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2018, with the headline 'Wedding comedy lacks depth'. Subscribe