Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder reunite for an enjoyably embittered rom-com
Writer-director Victor Levin reunites the stars of Bram Stoker’s Dracula for this enjoyably caustic two-hander. Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder play Frank and Lindsay, two grumpy middle-aged singles who annoy each other at an airport while waiting for a flight, before realizing they’re both attending the wedding of Frank’s half-brother (also Lindsay’s ex) and that they’ll be stuck together all day.
The central gimmick is that Frank and Lindsay are the only characters who have any dialogue, making this a somewhat unique entry in the matrimonial movie canon. It’s also perhaps the least romantic wedding film ever made, as the only thing Frank and Lindsay seem to have in common is their hatred of each other and everyone around them. Convention dictates that the couple will spend the duration bickering and then get together; but, even though they have a physical connection (as evidenced by a very amusing mid-movie hook-up), Levin keeps you guessing throughout, largely due to the off-the-scale cynicism of the two leads – when Lindsay asks, ‘What if the real destination was love all along?’, Frank responds, ‘What if you never say that again?’
Best known for his work in TV (including as a co-executive producer and writer on Mad Men), Levin’s funny, razor-sharp dialogue consistently crackles. For the most part, he shoots the film in a series of static medium shots; we find Frank and Lindsay off on the fringes of whatever excruciating event is occurring at the wedding’s picturesque winery location – one particular highlight has them both wearing plastic inflatables while their mutual snark fest continues.
Marking their fourth film together (alongside the aforementioned bloodsucker, the pair joined forces for A Scanner Darkly and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee), long-term friends Reeves and Ryder have such easy chemistry that they’re a joy to watch, even if their relentless negativity may not be to everyone’s taste. However, if you’re willing to tune into the film’s wavelength, this is the perfect rom-com for people who don’t like romcoms, and, indeed, anyone who’s ever been single at a wedding.