This weekend’s Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates showcases Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza as the two worst candidates for anyone to take to a special occasion, but nobody should be surprised; there is, after all, a long tradition of movies where weddings aren’t quite the most perfect day in the lives of all who attend.
For those who’ve gotten married, this might come as expected — it is a particularly stressful, busy time, after all — but no matter how poorly your real-life wedding might have gone, you can be grateful than cinema exists to take it further and make you count your blessings about the lucky escape you ended up getting without realizing it. Don’t believe me? Here are 10 things that could’ve gone wrong, even if they eventually turned out going right…
THE BEST MAN (1999)
Written and directed by Spike Lee’s cousin, think of this movie (and the next) as a palette cleanser before the debauchery of the 21st Century, post-Bridesmaid wedding movie. Here, characters learn and grow from earlier mistakes — like writing a tell-all book about the happy couple and letting everyone in the wedding party read it right before the event—and look to God for guidance with no punchline just around the corner. Were we ever that innocent?
THE WOOD (1999)
Actually, perhaps we were even more innocent, as this comedy — which also stars The Best Man’s Taye Diggs, who clearly was thinking a lot about marriage in ‘99 — suggests. As Diggs goes missing before his wedding, it falls to his groomsmen to bring him back by reminiscing about easier times. Not better times, because, you know… wedding, and all. (It all ends happily, don’t worry. It was the last century.)
REVENGE OF THE BRIDESMAIDS (2010)
Despite the title, this actually preceded the Paul Feig movie Bridesmaids by a year, which just goes to show you the speed at which TV movies can make it to air. Yes, it’s a movie about badly-behaved bridesmaids, out to ruin a wedding that shouldn’t be happening in the first place, in their eyes. Come for the ABC Family of it all, stay for the sight of The Cosby Show’s Raven-Symoné grown up, to make you feel old.
A FEW BEST MEN (2011)
A wonderfully odd misfire of a movie, this Australian-British comedy about a disastrous bachelor weekend is worth a watch just to try and work out what went wrong. Is it simply that the comedy doesn’t travel between borders, or that Rebel Wilson and Olivia Newton-John — yes, really; she also performs much of the soundtrack — can’t save everything despot being wonderful on their own? Take a look and try to work it out for yourself.
BEST MAN DOWN (2012)
Of course, at least no-one dies in that last movie, unlike this best man disaster drama from the following year, when Justin Long’s celebration is ruined by a deceased groomsman. This isn’t played for laughs, however, and especially not when the best man’s body is taken home in advance of funeral planning. Let’s just say that this is the comedown movie of the list and leave it at that.
BLACK OUT (2012)
How grim is Best Man Down? Grim enough that a movie about a man waking up the day before his wedding next to a corpse that he has never seen before feels like light relief. Although, to be fair, this Dutch crime romp is pretty fun no matter when you watch it, thanks to its gratuitousness and some ridiculous performances.
THE WEDDING VIDEO (2012)
How to pick things up from murdered bedmates and dead best men? Why, with a found footage comedy intended to be the true tale of a wedding gone entirely wrong, right from the start — in large part because, by the time the big day actually rolls around, the whole thing has become a sham because the happy couple doesn’t even want to get married anymore. Don’t ask, just watch.
I GIVE IT A YEAR (2013)
The co-writer of Borat might not be the first choice to create a modern Love, Actually, but Dan Mazer actually does a pretty reputable job in this British romcom that manages to make a wedding story into something that lasts a whole year… in large part by dealing with things like the uselessness of the gifts and inability of find an opportunity to use them anytime soon after the ceremony.
THE WEDDING PACT (2013)
Congratulations, Haylie Duff—you still have something resembling a career, as can be seen in this romantic comedy in which two friends who pledged to get married if both were single 10 years later find themselves approaching the dreaded date, with both of them in very different places about how to respond to that self-made ultimatum. In fact, one of them is already engaged…!
SHERLOCK: THE SIGN OF THREE (2014)
Of course, perhaps the best wedding story is this Sherlock episode, wherein the ceremony is just a Macguffin for the crime of the week, but still manages to get a sit-com episode’s worth of cheap laughs out of all the cliches and honest notes about the pomp and circumstance of the entire affair. Just imagine what could happen if this team turned its head to trying to do this on a regular basis.