December 15, 2006
On strike for marriage
Stamos is hot in this
Once the home of countless BBC mysteries and other high-brow fare, the A&E cable channel has been adding meatier dishes like Dog, the Bounty Hunter and Gene Simmons Family Jewels. It now seems to have a bit of everything, including Wedding Wars, a new comedic movie about gay marriage airing Monday, December 11, at 9 pm.
Ben (Eric Dane) is the luckiest guy in the world. He�s about to marry Maggie (Bonnie Somerville), the beautiful, intelligent daughter of Maine Gov. Conrad Welling (James Brolin), and he has just the right wedding planner in mind: his brother Shel (John Stamos).
Shel lives with his partner Ted (Sean Maher), an assistant prosecutor, and their life seems like one big party. He jumps right into the deep end of planning his brother�s extravaganza.
But then Shel has a falling out with Ben and the governor over their opposition to lesbian and gay marriage equality, and he goes on strike.
While a wedding planner walking off the job would not normally be news, the man designing the nuptials of the governor�s daughter in an election year definitely draws attention. LGBT people and their allies across the country walk off their jobs, crippling the restaurant, hotel and floral businesses, not to mention leaving the local news station without a weatherman, or someone to operate the teleprompter, and the anchors without their usual hairstylists and makeup artists.
In the wedding war that ensues, the battle lines are drawn in unexpected ways. Maggie sides with Shel, while the governor sides with Ben. Ben and Shel�s parents, who didn�t know their son was gay until they got to the governor�s mansion, go two ways. Wanda (Jayne Eastwood) sides with Shel and Vern (Sean McCann) sides with Ben . . . sort of.
With the introduction of Mrs. Fairfield (Linda Kash)--the only wedding planner Ben could find who didn�t hang up on him when they found out who he was--the entire affair is circling the drain.
The governor might be willing to go as far as civil unions, which Maggie immediately writes off as unacceptable. Shel remarks that the seats in the back of the bus might be just as comfortable as the ones at the front, but they�re still in the back.
Can the two brothers reconcile in time to keep Mrs. Fairfield from covering everything in gold lam�? Can the governor give in and still get re-elected? Can anyone find the bride? All these questions and more will be answered by 11 pm on Monday.
It�s a cute little film, directed by Jim Fall, who first made his name helming the indie film Trick.
While Wedding Wars might not be a deep and meaningful documentary into the cultural battle between pro- and anti-marriage forces, it does its job fairly well, giving a glimpse of both sides of the issue (more one side than the other, wink-wink) without demonizing either. People who are opposed to same-sex marriage aren�t painted as recidivist bogeymen, and same-sex marriage advocates aren�t rampaging fairies who want to overthrow God�s creation. They�re all people, and as the governor�s wife (Rosemary Dunsmore) points out, they�re all the same at heart.
Stamos, who is sexy enough to have married Rebecca Romijn and aging gracefully enough to be even sexier after she divorced him, plays gay almost completely unself-consciously. His interactions with Sean Maher are neither overdone nor cartoonish, and his affection seems genuine.
Of course, everyone in the film is pretty. Even the over-the-top Mrs. Fairfield is attractive. What�s more disconcerting is the prevalence of Canadian accents--it seems that 90 percent of the cast is from north of the border, either Ontario or Qu�bec.
Regardless, it�s a cute film that is readily available on basic cable, which is a rarity nowadays. It seems that anything that might spark any controversy gets relegated to premium channels, but A&E is fixing that . . . and giving us a gay John Stamos.