A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Wilde Wedding is a mature family dramedy about a retired movie star (Glenn Close) who's about to marry her fourth husband, an award-winning novelist (Patrick Stewart). As in many dysfunctional-family comedies, there's lots of strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "bitch," etc.), plus sex (though no graphic nudity) and substance use (both alcohol and recreational drugs: marijuana, cocaine, and mushroom-laced edibles). The drunk/high relatives make a series of ill-advised choices that lead to betrayal, the revelation of secrets, and more. Since the main characters are over 60, it's doubtful many teens will be interested.
What's the story?
THE WILDE WEDDING chronicles the wedding weekend of retired, world-renowned 60-something actress Eve Wilde (Glenn Close). She's marrying critically acclaimed British novelist Harold Alcott (Patrick Stewart), who will become her fourth husband. Attending the festivities on Eve's side are her three adult sons (Noah Emmerich, Jack Davenport, and Peter Facinelli), two adolescent granddaughters (Grace Van Patten, Brigette Lundy-Paine), and her favorite exes, including her first husband/father of her children, Laurence Darling (John Malkovich), a respected stage actor, and former daughter-in-law Priscilla Jones (Minnie Driver), a pop-rock superstar. Harold, meanwhile, brings along his two daughters and one of their best friends. As Eve's granddaughter Mackenzie (Van Patten) attempts to film a documentary about first love, it's clear that sparks are flying in all sorts of directions, leading to a tumultuous wedding day.
Is it any good?
Close, Malkovich, and Stewart in a grown-up romantic comedy sounds like a dream, but Damian Harris' thinly plotted story about bed-swapping soon-to-be-relatives still underdelivers. The son of late Irish actor Richard Harris (whose first wife was a Welsh aristocrat and whose second was an American actress/model), Harris -- who was also married to an actress (Peta Wilson) -- clearly understands first-hand the highs and lows of two people in showbiz trying to make a life together. The Wilde Wedding's many themes about fame vs. critical respect, renown vs. money, ego, and self-aggrandizement all seem authentic, and the three esteemed actors are all up to the task of playing people who are well-known to various degrees.
The problem is all of the other characters, from the childish adult children who can't seem to help wanting to sleep with their new step-siblings to the underdeveloped adolescent/young-adult grandchildren who are either scandalous (Lundy-Paine's Lara shows up with a new, loud, blogging girlfriend) or overly sincere (Mackenzie, who wants to know what love is, even if it's what she feels for her second cousin). Driver stands out as a slightly unbelievable "rock goddess" who's Mackenzie's mother and Eve's favorite former daughter-in-law. She sings the titular remake of "White Wedding" with a zeal that says "cabaret" more than "arena frontwoman," but at least she can sing. Random other characters pop up, mostly to show what a mess these rich white folks are, but the movie doesn't amount to much other than an excuse to see three of the finest actors of their generation interact.
Talk to your kids about ...
What are the movie's messages and in-jokes about acting? Is there really a rivalry between movie actors and stage actors? Do you think actors are as self-absorbed as they appear in the movie?
How does class, money, fame play a role in the movie?
- In theaters: September 15, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: October 17, 2017
- Cast: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Patrick Stewart
- Director: Damian Harris
- Studio: Vertical Entertainment
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language, sexual content and drug use
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.