Woody Allen has a brand of comedy unique to his movies. They mostly involve intellectual quirky characters and a lead that most usually suffers from some form of verbal diarrhoea, talking fast but not really saying anything. Ceremony isn’t a Woody Allen film, but it surely tries to be, attempting to channel all of his directorial trends. Or perhaps Max Winkler’s influences stem from Wes Anderson films? Regardless, Ceremony is a bad mixture of quirky comedy and downbeat romance. The results are a dull film that involves some of the worst lead characters known to man – seriously these two were never a match!
PLOT: Two friends are off on a weekend outing. Marshall thinks the trip is to re-establish their friendship, but Sam has ulterior motives in mind as he crashes a wedding.
DIRECTOR: Max Winkler
CAST: Michael Angarano, Uma Thurman
GENRE: Romantic Comedy
AGE RESTRICTION: PG 13
It’s incredibly sad to see the talented Uma Thurman in roles like this. She is seriously scraping the bottom of the barrel these days. Perhaps Tarantino is the only director who believes in her capabilities? Either way, she is in dire need of Kill Bill vol.3 to revive her career.
Ceremony doesn’t bring her any good favour. Her role as the older, mature, strikingly beautiful, Zoe is completely mismatched with the casting of obnoxious, awkward motor-mouthed 23-year-old Sam (Michael Angarano).
The story kicks off when Sam shows up unannounced at Zoe’s wedding, hoping to crash the party and win her back. Sam once had a fling with Zoe and thinks he can rekindle the flame in time to keep Zoe from marrying a successful filmmaker, for whom he is no match I might add. It’s a juvenile idea and watching Sam’s endless efforts will leave you feeling sorry for him, instead of hoping he wins the girl.
All the Woody Allen signifiers are evident – intellectual aristocrats and over stylized dialogue. Just don’t expect the same class of directing or scriptwriting.
The film opens with the narration from a children’s book that clearly underlines the childish ideas of love Sam holds onto. “The princess smiled and said, “Don’t bother, I’ve already packed.” So they rode off on the back of a white whale and with a bouquet of plankton they were betrothed.” Seriously?