Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
14 hrs ago
5 hrs ago
Four Weddings and a Funeral(1994)
Shy Londoner Charles meets American Carrie at a friend's wedding and enjoys a one-night stand with her. The next time they meet, again at a wedding, Carrie is accompanied by a rich fiancé, leaving Charles heartbroken. Nevermind, with another wedding on the horizon, there is still time for him to pitch his woo and win the love of his transatlantic sweetheart.
For more about Four Weddings and a Funeral and the Four Weddings and a Funeral Blu-ray release, see Four Weddings and a Funeral Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on January 26, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, James Fleet (I), Simon Callow, John Hannah, Kristin Scott Thomas
Director: Mike Newell
» See full cast & crew
Four Weddings and a Funeral Blu-ray Review
That's five chances to get to a happy ending.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, January 26, 2011
William Goldman is an iconic Academy Award winning screenwriter (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) who has chronicled the adventures of working in Hollywood in his minor classic, Adventures in the Screen Trade. Perhaps less known, but no less of a great read, is Goldman's account of the 1967-68 year on Broadway, The Season, which I mentioned in my review of the little known or seen comedy The Six Wives of Henry LeFay. Though some readers found a hint of homophobia running through Goldman's piece on The Great White Way, overall it's one of the most fascinating inside looks at what made Broadway tick toward the end of what many consider the Golden Era for live theater in New York City. Goldman tackled a number of really interesting subjects in The Season, everything from the "power" behind any given show (which could be everyone from a producer—like David Merrick—to a star—like Steve Lawrence) to the "power" of theater parties and their bulk ticket buying proclivities. One of Goldman's more interesting theses was the timing of what he called the "charm musical", shows like My Fair Lady. Goldman made an interesting case that 1956 was the perfect year for a relatively quiet, thoughtful, and, well, charming show like My Fair Lady to come along, and that was a large part of its success. Goldman points to other, less successful shows like She Loves Me or The Gay Life as victims of their own timing. Though it's not a musical, Four Weddings and Funeral is certainly what could be called a "charm romantic comedy", a lightweight affair that breezes by with a minimum of fuss and bother, elevated by a couple of nice star turns, quick and almost burlesque-like comedy bits, and nary a thought underneath its elegantly coiffed (and usually hatted) head. But it seemed to arrive on American shores at exactly the right time, and it benefited from that judicious arrival. Four Weddings and a Funeral was the first of many (as in many) similar comedies, many of which featured Hugh Grant, and it marked the beginning of a rather sizable wave of British fare, most of which found box office gold on this side of the pond. Now as we approach the 20th anniversary of the film's release, and it arrives yet again, this time on Blu-ray, do the stars align once more so that longtime fans will still be enchanted and new audiences will find similar attraction to the film?
What is it with these sauve British men surnamed Grant? OK, so Cary was actually a Leach, but still. Hugh at this point in his career seemed to be following in Cary's elegant footsteps, albeit the footsteps of the buffoon Grant played in Bringing Up Baby. In Four Weddings and a Funeral, Grant's Charles is a man prone to horrible faux pas, as well as actual physical missteps, a sort of walking cartoon who, after stupidly insulting an acquaintance by saying too much, goes over and whacks his head against a metal pole. Of course that makes him instantly appealing to American visitor Carrie (Andie MacDowell). The two meet at the first of the four titular weddings of the film, have an instant attraction which leads to a one night stand, and the film is off and running. Four Weddings and a Funeral is by its very nature an episodic undertaking, as Charles, his coterie of friends, and Carrie keep running into each other at various events. The relationships slowly grow, some actually mature, but there isn't the luxury of watching the developments themselves. Instead we simply arrive at our new destination and are left to ferret out what's happened in the interim. It's actually a rather neat little conceit, and it's part of what gives Four Weddings and a Funeral its considerable allure.
While the basic premise of Four Weddings and a Funeral is relatively unusual, as we watch Charles at five discrete events over an 18 month period, it's a two prong approach that really elevates a lot of the film above the standard romantic comedy fare of its day. First of all we have a bevy of fine performances, including a wonderfully spry and ill at ease turn by Grant, who turned this sort of hemming and hawing semi-dashing hero into a career path. Somewhat less effective is Andie MacDowell, who seems just slightly out of her element through at least parts of the film. She's gorgeous and lovely, of course, but there's just something a bit off in her performance here. Much better is the redoubtable supporting cast, which includes everyone from Kristin Scott Thomas to Rowan Atkinson to Simon Callow to Corin Redgrave. These three, plus the other wonderful British character actors who populate Four Weddings and a Funeral, really give the film its brittle comedic edge, one which cuts rather deeply into perceptions of those "dotty British."
The humor itself can be rather broad at times, as in the first wedding's interlude between hapless Lydia (Sophie Thompson) and erstwhile suitor Bernard (David Haig), which of course turns out to be the couple featured in the second wedding. Atkinson's turn as an oafish priest in training is also almost Benny Hill broad, but still works wonderfully within the confines of the film. Director Mike Newell has had one of the more amazingly disparate oeuvres in recent film history, everything from the light comedy of Four Weddings and a Funeral to the melodrama of The Good Father to the magical realism of Love in the Time of Cholera to the outright magic of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Newell proves himself an able helmsman in a film made up of small moments, perhaps none of which really add up to a completely satisfying overall whole.
Four Weddings and a Funeral does its best to provide some character arcs, and there are certainly moments at least for Charles to come to some sort of understanding about his predicament of always being at weddings but never the groom (in a twist to the old "always the bridesmaid" saying). While the rest of the characters are shown in various situations, one really never gets the feeling of actual change and growth. Instead, it's like watching discrete skits featuring the same cast. There's nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but it may add to the perception that the film is an enjoyable enough romp which is nonetheless fairly forgettable.
So, what is the ultimate verdict on Four Weddings and a Funeral almost two decades down the line? First, it's still a wonderfully brisk and often very, very entertaining romantic comedy. Second, time has shown that timing was probably at least part of the film's overwhelming critical and box office appeal. Lightning probably won't strike twice for this film, and its Blu-ray release will be welcomed mostly by people who probably saw it theatrically back in the mid-1990's. Newcomers may find it a slight diversion while wondering what all the fuss was about.
Four Weddings and a Funeral Blu-ray, Video Quality
Critics like to toss around tech-speak a lot of the time, and I have personally heard from readers how it sometimes drives them crazy. But for anyone who cares to know what "telecine wobble" is, take a gander at the opening few seconds of Four Weddings and a Funeral's AVC encoded 1080p image (in 1.85:1). When that first Polygram title pops up, you're likely to think an earthquake has hit your screen, so crazy is the motion. The wobble settles down, a bit at least, through the main titles, though it's still rather apparent. Luckily things improve dramatically after the film starts. This was not the sharpest looking film to begin with when it was originally released, but this Blu-ray looks at least decently sharp, with excellent color, great saturation, and a pleasing amount of fine detail. Grain is natural looking, and the overall image has a nice filmic texture. Contrast is generally excellent, though some of the nighttime scenes suffer from moderate crushing. The film is still a bit soft, though that's exactly how it looked in its original theatrical release. This is certainly much better looking than the SD-DVD and represents a substantial, albeit subtle at times, upgrade in image quality from previous home video releases.
Four Weddings and a Funeral Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Four Weddings and Funeral is presented with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, but there's truthfully not a wealth of surround activity the soundtrack can exploit. The source cues and underscore play out nicely throughout the surrounds, and the larger party scenes do have a smattering of discrete channel effects, but this after all a quieter, more dialogue driven romantic comedy, so there's nothing really bombastic here that will set audiophiles' ears on fire. This is a respectable, professional sounding track that sports excellent fidelity. Dynamic range is limited, as is to be expected, though there's an appealing low end in many of the music cues. Dialogue is well positioned and easy to hear, and the overall mix is excellent as well.
Four Weddings and a Funeral Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Four Weddings and a Funeral ports all of the extras from the previous DVD over to this edition. As with the other Target Exclusives, this Blu-ray comes without benefit of a main menu, and unfortunately the Pop-Up menu will not function once any given Special Feature is accessed.
Four Weddings and a Funeral Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It's not the masterpiece some critics claimed it was when it was first released, but time has been mostly kind to Four Weddings and a Funeral. The humor is brisk and often quite funny, and Grant is very appealing in one of his first major roles. The film still looks a bit soft, as it always has, but this Blu-ray offers enough of an improvement to make this title Recommended.
Blu-ray bundles with Four Weddings and a Funeral (1 bundle)
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to Four Weddings and a Funeral. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to Four Weddings and a Funeral in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
Four Weddings and a Funeral Blu-ray, News and Updates
No related news posts for Four Weddings and a Funeral Blu-ray yet.
Four Weddings and a Funeral Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
Four Weddings and a Funeral Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Four Weddings and a Funeral Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2015 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.