As the matrimony comedy A Few Best Men is released in the UAE, James Luxford channels his inner wedding planner to choose the 10 best movies about love and marriage.
Walk down the cinema aisle with our 10 best wedding films
The release of wedding comedy A Few Best Men this week is somewhat timely, coming at the beginning of wedding season in the Middle East, where husbands and wives-to-be take advantage of the summer and stage one of the biggest (and hopefully happiest) days of their lives. However, it's not as simple as finding the right partner; modern marriages have many more things to consider. Tradition, family politics, venues; there are many things to check off the list before the vows are exchanged, all of which have been lampooned at one point or other by the world of movies. If you're one of those couples, or if you just want to get in the mood for matrimony, here is a countdown of our 10 best wedding movies.
10. Wedding Crashers (2005)
The last thing you want at your reception is an uninvited guest, and this American comedy follows two wild "wedding crashers" (Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn) who charm their way into strangers' weddings, in search of free food, drink and bridesmaids. Hilarious and irreverent, the film lampoons the various niceties of modern marriages and, more importantly, how anyone can be bitten by the love bug.
9. Mamma Mia! (2008)
We travel to a Greek island for this adaptation of the hit international musical, based on the songs of Swedish pop band ABBA. Amanda Seyfried is the engaged young woman desperate to find her real father before walking down the aisle, and narrows her search down to three potential candidates from her mother's (Meryl Streep) past. An offbeat look at matrimony perhaps, but at its heart, the film explores how important your past is when you're planning your future.
8. Father of the Bride (1991)
Taking the viewpoint of a befuddled father (Steve Martin), this 1991 comedy farce (which spawned a sequel) shows the patriarch of an affluent LA family struggle to keep up with the preparations for his daughter's wedding and adjust to the fact that he may be 'losing' the little girl he once knew. As saccharine as only Hollywood can be, Martin is still fantastic and the film still as poignant 20 years on.
7. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
Culture clashes don't get any bigger than this mid-2000s comedy, where an engaged Greek-American woman (Nia Vardalos) struggles firstly to get her traditional family to accept her non-Greek fiancée (John Corbett), and secondly to keep their influence from ruining the wedding before it has even begun. A charming film that shows even though you can choose your spouse, you can't choose their family.
6. Bride and Prejudice(2004)
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is given a Bollywood twist from the Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha. Aishwarya Rai stars in her first English-speaking role as Lalita, a woman pressured to marry by her parents, but whom is inexplicably attracted to the initially stern and obnoxious American Will Darcy (Martin Henderson). Lessons about love, Indian culture and following your heart are all learnt in this critically acclaimed movie, which was a hit with audiences around the world.
5. The Wedding Singer (1998)
What happens when a heart-broken wedding singer falls for the bride at his next gig? That's the conundrum in the 1990's movie that made both Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore box office names. Side-splitting and heartfelt, the 1980s aesthetic will be great for all nostalgia lovers, while the various post-wedding mishaps will ring true to anyone who has been to a wedding where emotions have run high.
4. Bridesmaids (2011)
A look at getting married from the maid of honour's point of view, as Kristen Wiig plays an accident prone bridesmaid struggling to make her best friend's nuptials everything she dreamed of, while reflecting on her own wasted opportunities. Nominated for an Oscar, the film highlights the sometimes overly high expectations people can have during wedding preparations, meaning the real purpose of the day can get lost.
3. Muriel's Wedding (1994)
Our second ABBA-themed movie, this low-budget Aussie smash hit also serves as a cautionary tale about marrying for the wrong reasons. Shy, young Australian Muriel (Toni Collette) escapes her oppressive family life by moving to Sydney and having the wedding of her dreams, but due to some bad choices, this dream isn't all it turned out to be.
2. Monsoon Wedding (2001)
Arranged marriage is explored in this critically adored international production, set in India where a father's arrangements for the wedding of his daughter to a man she has only known for two weeks are threatened by the chaos of arranging such a large family event, plus a scandalous secret being kept by the bride-to-be. Riveting to the last minute, this film shines a light on the often jarring forces of tradition and modernity, as old values fight for priority over an increasingly westernised lifestyle.
1. Four Weddinga and a Funeral (1994)
A comedy of manners from the UK, and the film that made Hugh Grant an enduring and ever-popular star. At the heart of any wedding is, hopefully, love; and almost all aspects of love are covered over the course of the title's four weddings: enduring, unrequited, forbidden and, ultimately, lost love (in the film's heartbreaking funeral scene) are all in some way experienced by the group of single friends and Grant's blunder-prone protagonist.
A Few Best Men is currently showing in UAE cinemas.