Those who believe weddings to be exorbitant, empty spectacles have a fair-weather friend in writer-director Victor Quinaz, whose inventive debut, Breakup at a Wedding, attempts an aloof, smirking pose but surrenders to sentimentality in the end. The setup is rom com meets reality TV: Over 28-some hours, a cynical wedding videographer (Quinaz) narrates and records the disintegrating nuptials of aspiring yuppies Alison (Alison Fyhrie) and Phil (Philip Quinaz). The resulting mockumentary is suitably ugly, with the jerky rhythms, awkward close-ups, and palm-rubbing schadenfreude so common to TLC programming. Thankfully, no Bridezillas abound; instead, the pair believably break up during the rehearsal dinner, with the bride-to-be confessing she’s just been going through the motions in their relationship. But Alison and Phil are loath to let their expenses be for naught, so they hatch a scheme to throw the wedding without ever signing the marriage license, leaving their friends and family none the wiser. This darkly funny premise leads to an intermittently amusing middle section where the couple’s charade is overshadowed by low-stakes cringe comedy involving eccentric guests. Though Phil’s an oblivious boor—early in the film, he explains he loves his future wife because “she’s got really great posture, which is really awesome considering how chest-heavy she is”—he’s touched enough by Alison’s surprise present, a four-foot-long iPhone cake, to try to win her back. Quinaz shot the film days before his own wedding, and perhaps that explains Breakup‘s soft, squishy heart: It can’t help but melt.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 31, 2013