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Til Death Do Us Part
Review by Rich Cline |
dir Timothy Woodward Jr
scr Chad Law, Shane Dax Taylor
prd Timothy Woodward Jr, Natalie Burn, Jeffrey Reddick
with Cam Gigandet, Jason Patric, Natalie Burn, Orlando Jones, Ser'Darius Blain, Pancho Moler, Neb Chupin, DY Sao, Sam Lee Herring, Alan Silva, Nicole Arlyn, Anais Lilit
release US 4.Aug.23
Is it streaming?
Opening like a wedding-centred romcom, this movie quickly shifts into a blackly comical action thriller. A stylised sheen holds the interest, even if the storytelling is choppy, as the plot takes too long to click into gear and never quite builds up speed. Things get more entertaining when the well-staged action kicks off. But the male characters' vile misogyny infuses everything, leaving a sour taste in the mouth.
In Puerto Rico, a newlywed bride and groom (Burn and Blain) enjoy a holiday, meeting an older couple (Patric and Arlyn) in a bar then spending a quietly tense day together on their yacht. Flash back, or maybe forward, to their nuptials, as the bride gets cold feet the night before the wedding. So the groom sends his best man (Gigandet) and six groomsmen (Jones, Moler, Chupin, Sao and Herring) to keep an eye on her until the ceremony. But even though she's inexplicably wearing her bridal gown, she's far more resourceful than they expect.
Never really establishing the unnamed characters, director Woodward struggles with thin screenwriting that leaves the pace feeling slack. There's some intrigue here, as we try to work out where things are headed between the two storylines, but there's little to draw us in. The groomsmen are an eclectic team of bickering thugs and smirking killers. Their personality traits seem random, as is how clueless they are about the bride's defensive skills, even though she's a member of their criminal gang.
Despite the billing, Burn has the main role, the only sympathetic person on-screen and a properly tough, quick-thinking woman who is underestimated by the men. Playing to the rafters, Gigandet adeptly depicts the best man as a swaggering, overconfident jerk, belittling his team at every point. But then they are also relentlessly arrogant idiots. And the intercut storyline featuring Blain, Patric and Arlyn is picturesque, nicely relaxed and rather predictable in a gun-in-a-drawer sort of way.
Shifting between these two plot threads undermines any possible momentum. The script contionually strains to create suspense, but never quite manages it. And the more comical aspects never come together either, largely because it's so difficult to find anything to engage with in between the violent set-pieces. It's a nice twist that each sequence features a man failing to hold his own against a skilled woman. But the way each of these men go for her is seriously nasty. And the extended final sequence is oddly dull.
R E A D E R R E V I E W SStill waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2023 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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