Warren Cantrell is at the 2012 Seattle International Film Festival seeing as many movies as he can and filing reviews and reports as he goes.
Que pena tu boda (translated as Fuck My Wedding and directed by Nicolas Lopez) is a sequel to 2010’s Que pena tu vida (Fuck My Life), and is a rare exception to the mostly reliable rule that rushed sequels to breakout hits always suck ass. Fortunately, Fuck My Wedding is a movie that’s retained all of its predecessor’s sly post-modern wit whilst losing none of its tender authenticity. Indeed, the sequel surpassed the original in this regard, for while Fuck My Life was focused more on one man, and his struggles to come to grips with a broken heart in the modern age, the sequel concerns itself with the trails of two people, working no less diligently to maintain a fragile existence in the same electronic vacuum.
These people are Javier (Ariel Levy) and Angela (Andrea Velasco), childhood friends who found that they were very much in love after the latter helped the former through a tough break-up (see Fuck My Life for more on that). As Fuck My Wedding begins, Javier and Angela are en route to a wedding, but not theirs (much to Angela’s dismay). A cynical man-child who lives with his mother and stepfather at the age of twenty nine, Javier doesn’t even own a car, much less any ambitions towards marriage or anything resembling an adult life. While Angela makes it clear early on that she needs a stable partner in her life, and not just some lazy half-assed co-dependent, the audience knows that Javier is only half-listening: enraptured as he is by the smoking-hot dish that is Angela, and the cozy gravy train that is his life.
Things take a turn when Angela becomes pregnant, however. Though one might expect a development like this to initiate a cheap Chilean Knocked Up rip off, Fuck My Wedding instead uses the plot bomb to show its true colors. First off, while the tragically safe and tame Apatow offering from 2007 seemed terrified to even mention the word “abortion,” Fuck My Wedding takes the issue by the horns, for Chile has outlawed all abortions since 1989, something that makes Javier’s sideways suggestion that Angela get one all the more poignant. Second, the pregnancy doesn’t consume the movie or its main characters, but rather becomes something that brings out both the best and worst in them.
As a whole, the picture works because it is a refreshingly genuine look at a couple of adult lives living in the modern social media age. 2010’s Fuck My Life earned a lot of praise for its seamless integration of everyday components of a contemporary, wired-in life with its plot lines, something that the sequel picks up and develops further. Indeed, one knows they are living in the 21st century when a new film has a main character getting busted for cheating because the brain-dead hussy he was with the night before tagged him in her ‘Pool Party’ Facebook album.
A truly post-modern romcom, Fuck My Wedding is all the more exciting as a product of Chile: a country within a continent not widely perceived as “modern.” Films from that region have often focused on the more impoverished and indigent aspects of life in South America, precluding the fact that there might actually be teenagers or young adults suffering the mundane trivialities of a 1st World life, one not at all associated with street gangs or corn-hole smack smuggling. Though movies like Brazil’s City of God and Columbia’s Maria Full of Grace were both socially responsible pictures that looked at very real issues at play in that part of the world, it’s refreshing to come upon a South American story that never really evolves beyond the humdrum trials of an all-too familiar relationship.
In this way, the best moments in Fuck My Wedding come from the interactions between its characters, who (with an exception here and there) come off as genuine in a very familiar manner. For example, when Javier and his mother discuss the former’s disintegrating relationship, the audience learns that ol’ mom is far more in the loop than her son, what with her diligent reading of girlfriend Angela’s Twitter feeds. At another point in the movie, when making a remark about his disdain for marriage, Javier says that the institution is, “like living in another era, like paying for a movie.”
This kind of new-age cyber-honesty is both exciting as well as an ominous harbinger, what with studios and their in-house script doctors looking to inject whatever scraps of honesty into the factory-stamped rom-com swill in constant production. A brisk movie at 96 minutes, Fuck My Wedding definitely has its fair share of laugh-out-loud moments that would have made a viewing worth it all by itself were it not also a very smart, innovative take on the classic romantic comedy formula. Some especially outstanding vignettes include the one where Javier’s stepfather takes him to the shooting range to blast his troubles away, and another when there’s a proposal at sunset: an astonishingly filmed amber sky providing the perfect juxtaposition against a neon-green wedding ring.
Currently playing at this year’s Seattle International Film Festival, Fuck My Wedding is a good time from start to finish, and gives its audience a familiar love story with few of the trappings normally associated with such dribble.