Movie review: 'You May Not Kiss the Bride' now in theaters, but not for long
2012 Hawaiian Film Partners Distribution

It's hard to imagine exactly what Kathy Bates is doing in a movie that also features Rob Schneider as a Latino named Ernesto, but then again it's hard to imagine why anybody would sign on for You May Not Kiss the Bride. The film is in limited release (only playing at the AMC Forum 30 here in the Detroit area) and rightly so: It's amateur schlock posing as screwball comedy that is more suited for bargain bins than it is a movie theater.

Dave Annable plays Bryan, a pet photographer who somehow gets involved with a Croatian mob boss (Ken Davitian, the dude from Borat), who is trying to get his daughter, Masha (Katharine McPhee), U.S citizenship. His plan? Have her marry an American citizen! So why not Bryan! Bryan begrudgingly agrees and in order to pull off the marriage and make it look real, they are sent off for a tropical honeymoon.

And then hilarity ensues, right? Wrong. From the opening moments, You May Not Kiss the Bride plays like an extended sit-com, with over-the-top characters being portrayed by actors who must have known better. To its credit, the film is stuffed with well-known or at least recognizable actors, from Annable and McPhee to Kevin Dunn and Tia Carrere. Mena Suvari is painfully unfunny as Bryan's photography assistant who has the hots for him, or anybody else within her vicinity.

The set-up of the movie is just corny and when Bryan finally meets his bride-to-be, this Croatian beauty conveniently doesn't have an accent (she had an American housekeeper she tells us). When they get on the island, Masha is kidnapped and the latter half of the film turns into a action caper. None of it works.

I take that back actually. The film's lone comedic pulse comes from Kathy Bates who plays Bryan's mother. Bryan calls her throughout the movie and we get scenes of her on the phone talking to Bryan and giving advice. You get the sense that the filmmakers had her for one day or maybe a couple of hours, and that perhaps she was smart enough to stay away from the rest of the film. Her scenes are actually a bit funny, and I don't know this, but her lines seemed mostly improvised. She is way too funny and respectable to be seen in a movie such as this, but her scenes elevate this mess ever so slightly above the rest of the on-screen stagnation.

You May Not Kiss the Bride seemed to have been given the same level of care, depth and character-development as director Rob Hedden's first film, the (wink, wink) masterpiece known as Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. At least in that film we had the pleasure of watching some of the annoying characters meet there untimely ends.

There is no such joy or pleasure in this movie. Unleashing a masked killer on the tropical island may have made the experience a bit more bearable.

Genre: Comedy

Run Time: 1 hour 40 minutes, Rated PG-13

Starring: Dave Annable, Katharine McPhee, Kathy Bates, Rob Schneider, Mena Suvari, Ken Davitian, Tia Carrere, Kevin Dunn

Written & Directed by Rob Hedden (Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Boxboarders!)

Opens locally on Friday, September 21st, 2012 (check for show times).

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