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The Wedding Year

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
The Wedding Year Movie Poster Image
Casual sex, pot, heavy drinking in romcom with teen appeal.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 90 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid Maya's admittedly iffy behavior are messages about our best partner being the one who brings out our best and that the only one stopping you from achieving your dreams is you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Maya makes lots of iffy choices (casual hookups, constant vaping, drinking to handle stress, etc.), but there are diverse representations and nonstereotypical characters across gender, race, and sexual orientation.

Violence

A character is slapped several times in an effort to wake him.  Two women get catty over a guy, and a divorced couple berates each other. 

Sex

Maya engages in casual sexual hookups with men she meets on a dating app (she insists on a condom); these encounters are contrasted with tenderness in sexual situations within a committed relationship. She's frequently shown in her bra, low-cut dresses, and "side boob"-revealing shirts. Lusty comments about men's backsides.

Language

Strong language throughout, including "ass," "bitch," "damn," "goddamn," "s--t," and "f--k," as well as jokes with "t-tty twister" and "fetish porn."

Consumerism

Repeated positive inclusions of Tinder and Lyft. Pabst Blue Ribbon and Moet are consumed with labels prominent. Chapstick and Google mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Maya often vapes cannabis, and there are a couple of verbal references to her getting high. Frequent drinking, including getting intentionally drunk to handle a difficult situation. A character drinks heavily to get in the mood for sex; her date comments on how "fun" she is while she's doing shot after shot.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Wedding Year is a Robert Luketic-directed romantic comedy that's very likely to appeal to teens (more so than to adults, in fact). Maya (Sarah Hyland) is a self-centered young woman who hits parked cars and doesn't leave a note, feigns interest in men so they'll buy her dinner, and shows up to work high. While Maya is clearly a mess, Hyland is extremely popular, so her character could rub off on teens. Maya's behavior also includes getting drunk to avoid discomfort, pursuing one-night stands, and constantly sucking THC out of a vape pen. Maya thrives in an interracial relationship, and while the couple struggles with the differences in how they've been brought up, race itself is never an issue. They attend many weddings together, including that of a gay couple. Strong language ("f--k," "s--t") is used throughout, and there are plenty of lusty comments and situations.

User Reviews

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What's the story?

In THE WEDDING YEAR, 27-year-old Maya Baylor (Sarah Hyland) dreams of a career as a photographer but instead works in a boutique. When she falls for Jake (Tyler James Williams), her fear of relationships seems to slide away. But when the two embark on a year of attending seven weddings, her commitment issues return.

Is it any good?

Director Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde) returns to the romantic comedy genre with a modern-day story made for a younger generation. Is it formulaic? Absolutely -- but surprisingly, that feels good. Streaming services have wisely figured out that the romcom isn't dead, it just needed a vacation, and younger viewers have been eating up films like The Kissing Booth, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, and Always Be My Maybe. Luketic is ready to join the fray. The Wedding Year uses the standard setup (flawed girl meets awesome boy, loses boy, regains boy -- along with some personal growth) and then taps into a Nickelodeon/Disney Channel TV movie vibe. To high schoolers, it's the emotional equivalent of a bowl of warm Kraft mac and cheese.

That said, as much as teens are likely to enjoy The Wedding Year, parents could be left cringing. Maya uses Tinder for casual hookups, gets drunk for sexual foreplay, tells off a potential employer as they're making a job offer, and vapes THC as a way of life. And Gen Z-fave Hyland is so likable that her portrayal could be seen as an endorsement of this iffy behavior. The film is fun, and teens will love Hyland's messy character, but, parents: It'll be up to you to do clean up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Maya's casual attitude about sex. Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • How are drinking and drug use portrayed in The Wedding Year? Is substance abuse shown in a positive or negative light? Even in the negative examples, do you think it's still glamorized? 

  • Romantic comedies are sometimes accused of creating unrealistic expectations of romance for women. Do you think this film does that? Do you think it teaches the audience a lesson about dating and marriage?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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