Combustible Celluloid
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With: Katherine Heigl, Tom Wilkinson, Alexis Bledel, Linda Emond, Grace Gummer, Sam McMurray, Diana Hardcastle, Matthew Metzger, Houston Rhines, Cathleen O'Malley
Written by: Mary Agnes Donoghue
Directed by: Mary Agnes Donoghue
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material including a crude sexual reference
Running Time: 94
Date: 07/31/2015

Jenny's Wedding (2015)

1 Star (out of 4)

Out Casts

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Incredibly earnest in its intentions, this lesson in tolerance suffers from astoundingly bad filmmaking, unlikeable characters, and misguided attempts at metaphor.

Jenny (Katherine Heigl) is a lesbian and in a happy, committed relationship with Kitty (Alexis Bledel), but she is afraid to tell her family about it. She attends a particularly painful anniversary party for her parents (Tom Wilkinson and Linda Emond), where her brother tries to fix her up with a male friend, and where her sister (Grace Gummer) begins to spread a rumor that Jenny is sleeping with a married man.

After that, she decides to come clean, but her family reacts with shock and confusion. There are cries of betrayal, and unfriendly gossip begins to circulate. Despite everything, Jenny decides that she wants, more than anything to start a family of her own and begins to prepare for her wedding, with or without her family's help.

Coming from veteran screenwriter Mary Agnes Donoghue (Beaches, White Oleander, Veronica Guerin), the script never sounds natural; the actors constantly struggle with dialogue that sounds written rather than spoken. Donoghue never manages to do more than simply place her camera in front of a convenient backdrop for each dialogue scene; it's the opposite of visual storytelling.

Even the best actors in the cast come across as positively amateurish. Maudlin pop songs kick in every so often in a vain attempt to help. The gay/lesbian marriage issue is handled respectfully, but also seems aimed at only the most sheltered or conservative of audiences. Anyone else will find the movie extremely frustrating. Perhaps worst of all is the supremely awkward, wince-inducing attempt to use "dead grass" as a metaphor for a happy marriage.

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