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With: Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder
Written by: Victor Levin
Directed by: Victor Levin
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout and sexual content
Running Time: 90
Date: 08/31/2018
IMDB

Destination Wedding (2018)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Wedding Fling

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This two-character piece, centering on a narcissistic, cynical pair, could have been quickly irritating, but the tone is kept light and prickly, and the enormously appealing stars have fine chemistry.

In Destination Wedding, Lindsay (Winona Ryder) meets Frank (Keanu Reeves) at the airport, just as they are both about to hop on a small plane to San Luis Obispo, heading for the same "destination" wedding. They take an instant dislike to each other, and are dismayed to discover that they are sitting together on the plane, and then staying next door to each other.

Then, while sitting together at the rehearsal dinner, they bond over their mutual distaste for the groom, who is Frank's half-brother and Lindsay's ex-boyfriend. During the wedding, they take a walk in the hills and encounter a mountain lion. They escape and make love on a hillside. But later, talking in bed, they are too cynical to admit that they might have a good thing, and essentially talk themselves out of continuing to see each other. But perhaps there's still hope?

Filmmaker Victor Levin is perhaps best known for writing many episodes of the TV series Mad About You and directing another two-character piece with the indie movie 5 to 7. He's very good at the kind of intellectually romantic dialogue on display in Destination Wedding; it's quite Eric Rohmer-like, with characters analyzing their every move even as their emotions chart a different course.

As director, he stages an admirably simple, almost experimental, movie, with the two stars performing largely in sustained two-shots, with an occasional reverse angle or cutaway, and then a few beautiful "pillow" shots of San Luis Obispo to emphasize the leisurely weekend. No other characters come into it; they're shown only at a distance and never heard speaking. The gentle music score also elevates the mood, creating smiles out of the supposedly downbeat conversations.

Ryder and Reeves are, of course, old hands at this. They sink into their characters flawlessly and work together effortlessly. Their screen relationship began back in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) and has lasted over the course of five movies, including this one. Destination Wedding is as weightless as a weekend getaway, but it's a treat.

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