“Love Wedding Repeat” falls into the comedy genre known as the Function Disaster Farce. “Death at a Funeral” is probably the best recent example — either the 2007 British original or the 2010 US remake — and any movie can play along that involves a) a public family ceremony, b) a large and milling cast, and c) a spiked drink handed to precisely the wrong person.
This one is a British remake, set in Rome, of a 2012 French comedy, and it arrives globally on Netflix at a time when no one can leave their house. The main character is the brother of the bride, Jack (Sam Claflin of the “Hunger Games” movies) a genially uptight bloke whose life gradually comes unglued over the course of the day. His sister Hayley (Eleanor Tomlinson) is getting married to a nice, inconsequential Italian fellow (Tiziano Caputo) and is resplendent in white, but she turns several shades of green when an old boyfriend (Jack Farthing) turns up, coked to the gills and determined to cause a scene. Terrified, sister asks brother to dope the uninvited guest’s champagne with sleeping pills because that’s just what one does in a Function Disaster Farce — where wedding banquet place cards can be switched on a whim — as opposed to in the real world.
As things loop from bad to worse, Jack has to contend with a loose cannon of a best friend (Joel Fry); an evil diva of an ex-girlfriend (Freida Pinto of “Slum Dog Millionaire”); the ex-girlfriend’s new beau (Allan Mustafa), obsessed with his rival’s, um, measurements; a nattering boor (Tim Key) in a kilt; a preening Italian film director (Paolo Mazzarelli), and some woman (Aisling Bea) whose relationship to everyone else I was never able to suss out. Also: His sister’s American college friend Dina (Olivia Munn), now a globe-trotting war correspondent with whom Jack almost hooked up three years previous and for whom he still carries a veddy proper torch.
Somewhat surprisingly, that romantic subplot is the least important of the movie’s many strands, and Munn, who seems game, is sidelined for much of the running time. Written and directed by Dean Craig — who wrote those two earlier versions of “Death at a Funeral” — “Love Wedding Repeat” isn’t more than the sum of its fairly foolproof parts, and it suffers from a leading man who’s likable but who lacks the mad gleam of a true farceur. The rest of the cast pulls their weight, though, with Fry working some fine slapstick out of his character’s peculiar predicament, Pinto enjoying a chance to play a rotter instead of the decorative objects she usually gets to be, and one little old lady (Giusi Merli) whose job is to be mortified on a regular basis. Farce is all in the choreography, which everyone involved in this movie understands in theory and occasionally in fact. Incidentally, the narrator who sounds very much like Judi Dench is not Judi Dench but British actress Penny Ryder . . . who is Judi Dench’s personal assistant.
Similarly, “Love Wedding Repeat” is a perfectly acceptable substitute for a comedy to be named later. It’s a piece of wedding-cake frosting designed to give you a sugar buzz for 100 minutes — a small screen diversion that in a movie theater might seem like much “I do” about nothing.
LOVE WEDDING REPEAT
Written and directed by Dean Craig, based on a screenplay by Francis Nief and Christelle Raynal. Starring Sam Claflin, Olivia Munn, Joel Fry, Eleanor Tomlinson, Freida Pinto. 100 minutes. TV-MA.