Frankly, one of my biggest quarrels is the title of this film. It's called The Wedding Guest because Patel's character- Jay (if that's really his name, it is vague throughout, as he uses a plethora of alias') pretends to be a relative of bride-to-be Samira (Radhike Apte), only he's there to capture her. The wedding part of the film is brief, as the kidnapping from Samira's arranged nuptials has been paid for by her wealthy boyfriend Deepesh (Jim Sarbh). A large majority of the film is Jay and Samira's road-trip journey, with hopes of getting out of India to Pakistan, and reuniting the two love birds. Only, things do not go as planned, with Jay and Samira finding a connection with one another instead.
It's not that The Wedding Guest is without it's fair share of intrigue. A majority of the entertainment comes from Jay's process of escaping the authorities, finding access to fake passports, and evading various military checkpoints. The script from Winterbottom is an obvious attempt to piggy back off his successful trilogy The Trip, The Trip to Italy, and The Trip to Spain. Instead of a comedy about a genuine friendship, The Wedding Guest is a road trip mixed with a troubled love story, two people who know nothing about each other, finding an attraction with one another while on the run. The close quarters keep things tense, but not enough happens.
Patel's performance is once again the best part of The Wedding Guest. His charisma carries all the weight, looking like a man who has been trained in the military, desperate for cash, and vulnerable to Samira's beauty. There is a bit of John Le Carre intrigue, but it feels as if Winterbottom isn't skilled enough to make it work with little plot. I desperately wanted a chase scene, a shootout, or something to raise my blood pressure. Instead we're expected to simmer in a trip on trains and automobiles.
Even the films lackluster climax isn't bad enough to hate The Wedding Guest. It's just there, letting Dev Patel do the heavy lifting, and tempting us with the possibilities of the action star that Patel should be. Trust me, one of these days a director is going to cast Dev Patel in the right film, the right set of skills, and he will be the coolest guy on the big screen. Sadly, The Wedding Guest is not that film...yet.
Written by: Leo Brady
MOVIE: THE WEDDING GUEST
STARRING: DEV PATEL; RADHIKE APTE; JIM SARBH
DIRECTED BY: MICHAEL WINTERBOTTOM
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 2 STARS (Out of 4)
For a while now, I have been calling for Dev Patel to become the newest big action star at the movies. Why not make him the next James Bond? Or at least give him a vehicle to have his own Jason Bourne-style super spy? The Slumdog Millionaire star has the looks, the charisma, acting skills, and the charm to be that guy, but unfortunately The Wedding Guest only gives us a taste of those abilities. Following the success in his Oscar-nominated role for Lion, Patel musters up enough and delivers more of the same, in Michael Winterbottom's lovers on the run thriller, which also features Patel walking around India, looking for stuff and not finding much. The Wedding Guest shows up for the party and forgets to bring a present.