(*homocinematically inclined)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reel Thoughts: Wedding Belles

What’s worse than being outed in a public place? For Alex (Andrea Marcellus), the answer would be “telling her Southern family she’s dating an African-American Jew.” That’s the set-up for Out at the Wedding, director Lee Friedlander’s charming reverse take on The Wedding Banquet.

Alex has always been overshadowed by her obnoxious younger sister (Desi Lydic), and is so embarrassed of her family, she’s told her fiancĂ© Dana (Mystro Clark) that her family is all dead. Of course, she still has to attend family get-togethers, but uses her gay best friend Jonathan (Charlie Schlatter) as a cover. While attending her sister Jeannie’s wedding, however, a misunderstanding leads to everyone thinking Alex is a lesbian.

When her family is shockingly supportive, Alex doesn’t correct them, leading to all sorts of craziness when Jeannie insists on coming to New York to visit. Alex hires sexy Risa (Cathy DeBuono) to play her lesbian lover “Dana,” but then Jeannie and Risa start getting very friendly. Throw in Dana’s parents, played to befuddled perfection by Reginald VelJohnson and the sublime Mink Stole, who Alex is desperate to keep from finding out she’s “gay,” and you have the makings of a funny and entertaining romp.

Schlatter, best remembered from Diagnosis Murder with Dick Van Dyke, seems to be channeling Paul Lynde, and his subplot about trying to trick his boyfriend into losing weight is suitably funny and ironic. Out at the Wedding is out on DVDafter a Valentine’s showing on Logo, and I think it makes a fun date film for everyone.

Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

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