In the picture

January 29, 2023

Super-convenient is this decade’s favorite genre, and The People We Hate At The Wedding seals this deal.

In the picture

The People We Hate At The

Wedding ☆☆

Starring: Kristen Bell, Dustin Milligan,
Allison Janney


ho doesn’t love Netflix? I know I do. Old shows that you can binge forever now, and new shows you would have never found if you hadn’t watched one particular series and Netflix suggested another. This is how I found Dark; a recommendation that followed my first Stranger Things binge.

But the things we watch on Netflix don’t have to be as complex as Dark, or as fantastically fun as Stranger Things, or even as weirdly academic though you can’t really tell as The Good Place, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, or Glow.

There’s a reason I mention these particular shows: one: they are, in the order mentioned above, a study in philosophy and theology, sociology, and a masterclass in TV/content production. Secondly, some episodes of all three shows – which are really, really good, so please watch if you haven’t – were directed by Claire Scanlon, who has also directed 2018’s Set It Up, and 2022’s The People We Hate At The Wedding.

Now if you are familiar with the ‘Netflix film’ format, you know the plot will be simple, the execution will be simple, the ending neat. Great. We love ourselves some simplicity, and time away from this complicated thing called our lives. All great romcoms are actually very simplistic and fun,and that’s the thing: we want to watch something knowing nothing will go wrong.

Without expecting too much from TPWHATW, as the viewer, you will find yourself supremely disappointed. Everything is just so convenient, everyone just gets away with terrible behavior, the explanations toward the end are kinda lame, and everything ties up just too well. I’m not saying movies should be exactly like real life because what’s the point of music or film or art if not to be an interpretation of life, not life itself?

Set It Up had been similar, and sure, whatever works, but TPWHATW actually stars some actors further in their careers than the cast of the former, and we kind of expect it to be a little more evolved. The plot itself isn’t what’s flawed completely (though it is in its oversimplification of people and situations), sometimes you’d just expect the director to weave the story with their own special string, and that doesn’t really happen here.

While Claire Scanlon hasn’t directed the best episodes of the shows mentioned above, the episodes she did direct were pretty strong, and that strength of – if not vision, then just conviction in the material the director is working with – is missing entirely in TPWHATW.

This is the movie you play in the background while meeting urgent deadlines, since your brain could use the background noise, and the film doesn’t require more than 2% of your attention.

Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection

In the picture