Apr 18, 2010

[Movies] Wedding Wars (2006)

Wedding Wars (2006)TV movies are only a few hops away from direct-to-video releases in my book. I know, I know, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover and all by statistically speaking there's something about TV movies that reduces the likelihood that they'll be any real good since they have to live by TV rules. That means stricter rating controls and dealing with possible backlash from the viewing public that catches the movie on TV at the so-called "wrong" time.

As far as my experience has gone, a lot of TV movies tend to be very "safe" in terms of topics they tackle or sequences they present, which is almost ironic given the fact that daytime soap operas tend to get even racier than most TV movies. I guess it also has to do with the fact that many TV movies save those created by the likes of HBO are made by smaller cable networks like Hallmark and A&E. These channels are then forced to stick to movies that are more likely to survive and generate decent viewership if they appeal to a wider audience.

So it was quite a surprise to me that this was actually a TV movie and a pretty entertaining one to boot despite it's somewhat controversial topic.

Wedding Wars is an LGBT-themed TV movie from A&E that tackled the issue of gay marriage in a more comedic manner.

Stamos backstage at the Emmy Awards, 1990Image via Wikipedia

The movie is centered around Shey (John Stamos) who decides to take on the challenge to become the wedding planner for his brother, Ben (Eric Dane). He's getting married to Maggie (Bonnie Somerville), the daughter of the state governor (James Brolin) who is currently running for re-election. When his opponent takes a firm stance against gay marriage as a political movie, Ben, who is also the governor's campaign manager, drafts a formal response for his soon to be father-in-law also taking a similar stance, thus neutralizing the issue.

Appalled that his own brother was involved, Shey decides to go on strike from coordinating wedding and starts a protest moment outside the governor's house. His boyfriend Ted (Sean Maher), the assistant state district attorney, is still in the closet and remains unable to support his boyfriend openly without jeopardizing his career. And so the whole movie takes off with Shey trying to learn advocacy on the fly, Ben trying to salvage his wedding and the whole nation left to decide for themselves where they stand.

At first I thought this was going to be yet another inane gay comedy like many others before it but was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable it was. Sure, it's very light in tone and it doesn't really push hard in terms of the issue at its core, but it doesn't ignore the fact either and the somewhat underplayed nature of things actually helps one appreciate the story more. I liked how it presented a very diverse image of gay people and not just focus on the stereotypical images the conservatives use against us such as really loud drag queens or overly butch lesbians.

John Stamos was pretty great as a gay man and it didn't seem forced or awkward at all. He carried his portrayal rather well and I certainly have a newfound respect for him as an actor given how he managed things here. He's certainly come a long, long way from his antics on Full House now hasn't he?

There were still the blatantly TV movie elements present in the movie like how Eric Dane never went completely shirtless despite being, well, Eric Dane. The only kisses between gay men were pretty light quick ones and of course there were no sex scenes. Not that any of these were needed mind you - they all just show that (1) they were playing by TV rules even as a cable network and (2) gay movies have their own share of tropes specific to the genre.

Wedding Wars is a night light enjoyable movie that reminds one of the value of gay marriage and more importantly the power of pink labor. It gets 3.5 stereotypical gay jobs out of 5.

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