I just watched Four Weddings and a Funeral for the second time in three days. I had to re-watch it to put my finger on exactly what bothers me so much about the movie. I wanted to love it, because it has so many things I like: Bad hats, awkward British people, dour matrons, young Hugh Grant, young Hugh Grant's floppy hair and crow's feet, and awkward dour British matrons in bad hats. It would've been perfect, if not for the awful romance.
|Please take each other out of the dating pool for the sake of everyone else. Thank you.|
Exhibit A: Charles
Charles is a bachelor who says he's still single because he's waiting to be struck by love-lightning. Really, though, he's mean to women and so indecisive he can't even commit to not committing. We meet five of his ex-girlfriends and learn that he mocks women when they are sick, makes fun of their weight, and talks badly about them behind their backs. His hot-and-cold behavior leaves his most recent ex-ish girlfriend, Henrietta, an emotional mess. Take one look at Hen, and you realize that dating Charles is a nightmare. You wouldn't wish this dude on your worst enemy. But Charles has really cute hair, so it's okay.
Exhibit B: Carrie
Carrie is The American, so she is aggressive and extroverted. Stereotype, WHAT? Roger Ebert says that her character is smart. But I'm not so sure, because she never goes beyond superficial banter. What I can tell is that Carrie really, really, really needs male attention, and she gets it by inviting strangers into her hotel room. Even if it means cheating on her fiance. Desperate? Yeah. Dangerous? Maybe. Self-esteem? What's that? Penises are neat! I'm Carrie, and I want all the boys to look at meeeeee!
The icky plot, with spoilers...
Over the course of about a year, Charles and Carrie see each other four times. They meet at two weddings, where they briefly exchange teasing banter and then have sex. It's more sleazy than romantic, especially when she reveals that she is engaged and cheating on her fiance. Hm, I guess Charles isn't the only one with commitment issues. The third time they meet, it's at Carrie's wedding to Hamish. Charles' friend dies during the reception, and after the funeral, Charles decides he needs to settle down. Ten months later, he's slated to marry poor sad crazy Henrietta. But Carrie crashes the wedding (always looking for attention, that one!), and minutes before the ceremony begins, Charles finds out that Carrie is recently divorced and decides she's his FOREVER TROO WUV (barf). Charles is still too much of a spineless wuss to speak up for himself, though, so his deaf brother stands up during the ceremony, signs his objection, and makes Charles translate. Cut to Charles at home, being consoled by his friends. It's so hard being a commitment-phobe with cute hair! Poor Charles! Carrie knocks on his door (LOOK AT ME I STILL NEED ATTENSHUN!). They kiss in the rain and commit to never making a commitment. Roll credits. I curse at the television.
YAY, I took Psych 101!
Carrie appeals to Charles' commitment-phobic, indecisive nature. She always ends conversations and exits situations first. She places no demands on him and never requires him to make a decision. And Charles meets Carrie's need for attention, especially when he makes a dramatic declaration of love in the street. But they're practically strangers. They don't know each other's habits, likes, values, or interests, and they certainly have no basis for love--just lust and fascination.
I know these matters are subjective, and I probably romanticize the mundane parts of relationships more than other people do. I love shared routines. To me, a silent agreement that you will make the morning coffee while I make the bed, or the knowledge that we are going out because it's Friday, and on Friday we go to shows together, is wildly romantic and represents a certain kind of security.
This movie isn't romantic. It's about strangers who use the idea of each other to avoid being close to people who are actually present in their lives. Six months later, when Charles has to actually get to know Carrie, I bet you anything he runs screaming. And then makes fun of her weight behind her back.