A Wedding (1978)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Domestic Comedy, Ensemble Film, Satire, Tragi-comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 29, 1978 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 125 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Craig Butler

Shot in sequence and in the director's typical improvisatory manner (and with a cast of characters that, in numbers, dwarfs even his own Nashville), Robert Altman's A Wedding is an uneven and ultimately unsatisfying satire by one of America's most idiosyncratic filmmakers. In the earlier Nashville, Altman was able to meld the many disparate story lines and characters into a film that was cohesive and delivered a devastating punch. He doesn't pull that off here, instead gathering together a bunch of people that certainly have a surface reason to be together but which don't really have a thematic connection -- other than the thin, unexplored idea of "exposing" the hypocrisy attendant in such social situations. Without any kind of real narrative glue, A Wedding comes across as merely a series of vignettes, although some of them are tremendously entertaining. There are enough of the visual and aural Altman signatures to keep film students on their toes; the writers and cast have certainly come up with a number of memorable lines and moments; and, as in most Altman group extravaganzas, the cast knows how to deliver the goods. As a result, there's enough to keep A Wedding chugging along nicely for the first hour or so, but it starts to run out of gas even before the disappointing climax.