January 18, 2008
It really isn’t fair that an awful film like License to Wed (2007) received a wide theatrical release while Wedding Daze a.k.a. The Pleasure of Your Company (2006) is released direct-to-video (it did receive a limited theatrical release in England in 2007). Both films are romantic comedies about the trials and tribulations of young couples getting married. It’s not surprising that this happened because Licensed has a big name star like Robin Williams to help sell it while Daze has a once bankable star (American Pie’s Jason Biggs) and an up-and-coming actress (Isla Fisher). Both films feature broad comedy mixed with the occasional gross-out gag but License resorts to tired, cliché jokes that we’ve seen a million times before while Daze features quirky humour courtesy of The State alumni Michael Ian Black.
Anderson (Biggs) is a romantic kind of guy with incredibly lousy judgment as evident in the film’s opening scene where he proposes to his girlfriend dressed as Cupid. Unfortunately, she literally drops dead before him and everyone in the restaurant. His best friend Ted (Weston) encourages him to get back out there and date other women. So, on impulse, Anderson asks a beautiful waitress named Katie (Fisher) to marry him. Surprisingly, she says, “Yes,” and ends up moving in with him. However, he is still in love with his dead girlfriend and doesn’t know how to tell Katie who is escaping a bland boyfriend and a predictable life. Anderson and Katie spend most of the film dancing around their true feelings because they don’t know each other.
Jason Biggs seems to be channeling the nervous energy of Ben Stiller and the natural likeability of Matthew Broderick. His character is a romantic who can’t let go of the past. Isla Fisher is her usual charming self with an engaging smile that lights up any room she’s in. She’s adorable as a girl who wants to lead a more spontaneous life. It turns out that she is just as much a romantic as Anderson. Biggs and Fisher are both adept at physical comedy and are not afraid to look silly. They also have excellent chemistry together and you really root for their characters to succeed.
Wedding Daze hits the usual plot points – spending the first night together and meeting the parents – and gives them an off-kilter spin, like Katie’s father who makes orthodox toys for Jewish kids or Anderson’s father passing on his cock ring to his son. Daze is reminiscent of David O. Russell’s oddball comedy Flirting with Disaster (1996). Both adhere to the romantic comedy blueprint and end up embellishing it with quirky characters with odd affectations that set it apart from predictable fare like License to Wed.
As with the similarly abandoned comedy, Idiocracy, Fox has included hardly any extras on the Wedding Daze DVD. All we get are three deleted scenes that include an alternate opening which wisely was not used and a fantasy sequence with Anderson’s dead girlfriend.