Film Review: You May Not Kiss the Bride

This irredeemably silly tropical screwball comedy, made in 2009, is only now getting a release—and that’s no surprise.

Pet photographer Brian (Dave Annable) finds himself in deep water when he accidentally injures a cat belonging to Croatian crime boss Vadik Nikitin (Ken Davitian), and is forced to marry his daughter, Masha (Katharine McPhee), so she can stay in the U.S. It is to be a no-sex marriage in name only, as Masha is slated for Vadik‘s Cockney henchman, Brick (Vinnie Jones). The couple honeymoon in Tahiti and the inevitable sparks start to fly between them, but then Masha is kidnapped.

You May Not Kiss the Bride is the first feature by start-up company Hawaii Film Partners, and although one would like to applaud its efforts to bring the industry to a state in dire need of alternative businesses to tourism, the film must be described as a genial botch. If even that cursory plot summary strikes you as inane, your impression is correct, for this is one desperately nutty farce. Writer-dierctor Rob Hedden’s cinematic vision consists of equal parts thuddingly heavy whimsy and lame-ass action, as per the endless car chases through a tropical paradise (Hawaii standing in for Tahiti). Despite the sprightly efforts of a large, attractive cast, true laughs are hard to find and the action sequences seem rote, not to mention unconvincing in the extreme. When the first scene involves the hapless Brian having to tickle a dog’s genitals to get him to pose properly for his camera, you get a pretty comprehensive view of the movie’s dismaying comic drift. The best thing to be said for it is that it is handsomely photographed by Russ T. Alsobrook, who makes the most of the gorgeous locale.

Annable and McPhee manage to make an appealing couple, and Tia Carerre and Mena Suvari add some welcome estrogen as a helpful waitress and Brian’s lovelorn assistant, respectively. Davitian and Jones offer no surprises in their typecast appearances. Kathy Bates literally phones in her performance as Brian’s bossy mom. Hawaiian music superstar Willie K pops up as a native chieftain, a beyond-clichéd role that breaks no new ground for Pacific Rim performers. Rob Schneider attempts to do an eccentric Johnny Depp-ish comic turn as Ernesto, an idiotic Tahitian jack-of-no-trades. If only his antics were as funny as he appears to think they are.