Friday, May 28, 2010

Ryan Watches a Motion Picture #32: Muriel's Wedding (1994)

This one's an Australian film directed by Paul Hogan. Sorry, it's not the Paul Hogan, it's a different and perhaps lesser man. For the rest of this review, right up until the end, I will imagine that Crocodile Dundee directed Muriel's Wedding, not a guy who isn't Crocodile Dundee. There's nothing you can do to stop me.

Boy, was I in shock when Paul Hogan's name hit the screen! Mick Dundee himself, stepping up to the plate and producing a really enjoyable film like Muriel's Wedding. I didn't know he had it in him! But now that I know it seems only logical. Have you seen his movies, where he's Crocodile Dundee? What a hoot they are!

Anyway, Muriel's Wedding is one of those films like American Beauty, where someone stuck in a blase life, ruled by the status quo and by the expectations of bad friends and bad family, transforms through a series of hard-won epiphanies. The humour is good, the turns in fortune heartbreaking and/or triumphant, and the commentary is sobering. I will say, though, that it suffers a bit from a lengthy runtime. There are a handful of sequences where the effect is quickly communicated, but the movie is indulging too much to cut away. Or a scene following another scene is too emotionally similar to its fellow. This leads to some pacing trouble.

So: A cool Aussie film with a large amount of charm, though not directed by Dundee. If you're by any chance reading this, P. J Hogan, no hard feelings.

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