Starring Dafi Alferon (as Michal), The Wedding Plan is an Israeli-made movie (in Hebrew with English subtitles) billed as a romantic comedy about an Orthodox Jewish woman whose engagement falls through; so she decides to keep the wedding hall booked because she has faith that God is going to provide her with a husband in the 22 days between “today” and the 8th day of Hanukkah.
This may sound like some silly movie that might star Jennifer Lopez or Jennifer Aniston or Katherine Heigel and it would be a good movie to remake in an American version. But in modern day Israel (I’m no authority, but I don’t really think Orthodox Jews give a care about the date on the calendar when it comes to their traditions) I would imagine that an unmarried 31 year old Orthodox Jewish woman needs to find herself a husband quite immediately.
Written and directed by Rama Burshtein, the premise has potential to be very funny but is also what makes this a tricky movie to navigate. The amount of energy one must use to temporarily suspend all Western traditions, hang-ups, modern beliefs, etc., and put themselves in this woman’s shoes and into this movie is taxing. I was able to do it for a majority of the movie, but toward the end I just couldn’t continue.
Unfortunately, at times, it felt as though (and I could be wrong) something was lost in translation between the actors speaking/acting and the subtitles. The movie contains very few laughs for a comedy, but when you “get it,” it can be very funny. There is really very little romance. It is more like an anti-romantic comedy because of the way Michal chooses to select a husband and the jerks she comes across while looking. While the movie is about stepping out on faith, what I saw was this woman who almost appears to have lost control of her reality and at times seems pitiful and desperate. That desperation made it difficult to laugh at her after a while. Watching her almost became painful.
There is an absence of visible outside pressure to marry in the film – certainly a misstep. As a point of reference consider a rom/com which was both romantic and funny, such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Toula’s family took every opportunity to apply the necessary cultural pressure; they told her she looked old, she looked bad, she needed to get married, etc., and it was funny. Here, Michal’s friends and family are super supportive for the most part, and the only person who harps on getting married is Michal. Without that outside pressure the need to go out on a limb and do something crazy, like book a hall, send out invitations and buy a wedding dress with no groom, seems non-existent. Also, My Big Fat Greek Wedding featured Greek traditions and culture and all of it was explained (mostly by an exasperated Toula who was kind of fed up with it all – and even that was funny). The Wedding Plan features what I can only assume are Orthodox Jewish traditions, because they went unexplained. These two elements made stepping into Toula’s shoes very easy and the characters very relatable across a wider audience. Everyone can relate to crazy, invasive family members and family, spiritual, cultural and/or religious “rituals” and/or traditions); thus that film’s success.
Dafi Alfernon is a great actress. She can be hilarious and plays pathetic and crazy like nobody’s business. She reminded me of Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine or that crazy Christine) several times, which is one great compliment – particularly for someone who is not even speaking my language. The supporting cast does an excellent job as well. Whatever may or may not have gone wrong with this movie, it was not in the acting.
The Wedding Plan earned 5 out of 10 bloops. It isn’t bad but could have been better but I wouldn’t advise anyone to pay to see it in a theater. The movie had potential but is lacking in romance, too sad to be as funny as one would expect a comedy to be and misses too many opportunities to be more relatable.
1 = worst ever, avoid at all cost
2 = very bad, forget about it!
3 = poor movie, not recommended
4 = not good, even for free – NO!
5 = so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6 = not bad, could have been better
7 = good movie, worth seeing
8 = great movie, don’t miss it!
9 = excellent movie, a must see!
10 = a masterpiece, go see it now!
Netflix, Amazon, The CW
8 out of 10 bloops
If Beverly Hills 90210 (and/or 90210), The O.C., Gossip Girl, Secret Life of An American Teenager, etc., were mashed up with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed and Angel, you would get Riverdale. The story line and characters are plucked from the Archie comics, but dark; with secrets, lies and murder at the core of the plot line.
Wow! Whoever tells you this show is outstanding is not pulling your leg. It is dystopian and creepy and will make you shudder at times. The way it is shot and the use of color is absolutely beautiful and depressing at the same time. It is well written, well acted, well-everything. It is important to watch as it is timely and relevant. There is one episode that will leave you gasping for air when what has occurred hits you. Excellence. Makes me want to write a full review. May the standard of quality be upheld and it not run past its prime. Cheers!
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