Friday, November 28, 2008

Rachel Getting...Whatever

It took me nearly a day to finally figure out why Rachel Getting Married bugged me so much. Jonathan Demme seemed to have taken a 48-hour period of just-released-from-rehab family reunion drama and turned it into a boring, indulgent “why make this movie?” experience. If you’ve ever seen an episode of the A&E series, Intervention, you’ll know what I mean.

I just recently saw an episode of Intervention about a young woman with a revolting addiction to inhaling propellant (from Dust Off cans). The gritty realism of her self-absorbed, angry state was painful yet compelling to watch. More heartbreaking, even still, were her family’s attempts to cope with and care for her.

Watching this story was like being tossed into a washing machine. Near drowning, tumbling into bedlam, and somehow making it through to be alive again, at the end. You couldn’t help but be truly touched as the program ended with her, barely recognizable, as a pretty young woman, free of that awful addiction that had previously turned her into a monster.

In "Rachel Getting Married," however, there is nothing but the “gritty realism” of a rich Connecticut girl at her sister’s wedding. Too much time spent on overly long scenes of singing celebrations (which involved a melange of ethnic music, dance and food usually only seen in movies) and weirdness (a dishwasher loading contest? really?) had me so restless I actually got up to do my own dishwasher loading to break the boredom.

Unsympathetic characters in this fake world made the movie a failure, in my opinion. I can’t fault the actors here. I think it was the writing. For a better, more meaningful film-watching experience, check out an episode of Intervention. Gritty realism on the house.