Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

'Annoyingly dull': TV adaptation of 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' panned by critics

The Hulu series follows four American university friends reunited in London

The cast of the 10-part TV adaptation of 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'
The cast of the 10-part TV adaptation of 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'

The film is a British classic, which made nearly $250 million worldwide at the box office and turned Hugh Grant into a star. But a new 10-episode TV adaptation of Four Weddings and a Funeral has been greeted rather less favourably.

The series, which is available on the streaming service Hulu, follows four American university students who reunite in London many years later. The protagonist is not the bumbling Charles (Hugh Grant), who is late for everything, but Maya (Nathalie Emmanuel), a New York-based speechwriter who is visiting London – and making some terrible decisions about her love life.

The weddings are still there, as is the funeral, and even the famous kiss in the rain at the conclusion of the film has survived the journey from big- to small-screen. Despite Richard Curtis (who wrote the film) being listed as an executive producer on the series, there is, according to the critics, not much to recommend this updated version of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Here is a round-up of the reviews.

The Hollywood Reporter

"Hulu might owe the Brits an apology not only for clumsily trying to get a lift from one of its most crowd-pleasing rom-coms, but for making a mockery of the British themselves – particularly the women, who come off as catty, classist and utterly terrible. But unfortunately (and surprisingly) many of the women in this version of Four Weddings and a Funeral, both British and American, come off as weak or clueless, entitled, bored or dim-witted."

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CNN

"Mostly, Four Weddings and a Funeral plays like a cynical grab for attention, based on the not-entirely-faulty assumption that any form of name recognition is an advantage when it comes to making noise in a crowded streaming universe.

"Yet even if the invitation works on that level, faced with the little matter of creatively capitalizing on that opportunity, Four Weddings won't catch any bouquets."

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Variety

"The trouble comes as the show tries to sell the camaraderie and fiercely loyal bond between the characters, which should be the glue that keeps the show together. Instead, the sporadic times they all share the screen rarely spark in the way that the joyfully chaotic group scenes of the first Four Weddings and a Funeral did."

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IndieWire

"Not following the precise path of the movie is fine, but quirky characters should be condiments because they are tough to digest as a main course. With 10 hours to get through the events promised in the title, the inordinate amount of time that is required to be spent with the eccentrics in the Hulu version causes them to veer into unlikeable and off-putting territory."

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Washington Blade

"The central characters are generally disagreeable. They're selfish and self-absorbed. They treat each other rudely and weave complicated webs of alliances and deceptions. They have no self-awareness and take themselves way too seriously.

"Beyond that, the writing is oddly uneven. Plot details are inconsistent between episodes. There are some great one-liners, but the lead characters are trapped by every rom-com cliche in the book."

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The Washington Post

"The show never depicts awkwardness in the right way. It is never clever in the expected fashion. Never funny where it tries to be; never as engaging as it wants to be; never able to envelop a viewer in the range of emotions one might equate with the words Four Weddings and a Funeral.

"Saddled with too many expat American characters, the show longs to focus on the far more interesting British characters and their social milieu. The stories and subplots do evolve some, but the dialogue remains excruciatingly flat (and often just corny), while the annoyingly dull cast seems incapable of giving the material much lift. As the show inevitably crawls in the direction of four weddings, is it wrong to just root for more funerals?"

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NPR

"These stories aren't comedic or romantic, particularly. Some of the pieces are there, but the satisfaction of seeing them click into place is missing. Characters meant to seem charming seem creepy, and decisions meant to seem whimsical seem destructive.

"Presumably by the end, there actually will have been four weddings and one funeral. But that's regrettably just about the only way the show lives up to the billing."

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Thrillist

"On one side, it's a show about privileged, bratty millennials confronted with the end of their stymied selves and the beginning of adulthood. The show achieves this by constantly portraying its main characters as the butt of a joke, with every side character having a firmer grasp on reality than they do.

"On the other, it's a show about recognizing real love, and coming together to build relationships that will last. In her rom-com series The Mindy Project and her recent screenwriting debut Late Night, Kaling has cemented a theme for her work: Self-absorbed, well-off people need love too. But the friend group in Four Weddings is comprised almost entirely of narcissists, which makes their love stories much less compelling than they ought to be."

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The Guardian

"It just about works despite its redundant concept because it so desperately wants to be filed alongside the romantic comedies it so shamelessly apes and the playbook it works from remains hard to resist."

Read the full review

Updated: August 9, 2019 01:37 PM

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