FEATURE FOUR WEDDINGS
or many people. the idea behind Four Weddings And A Funeral is a troubling one. Not so much the funerals — you’re always assured of good food and drink at one of those — but for twenty and thirtysomethings who have so far slipped the net. weddings can be a deeply traumatic experience.
That is certainly the feeling shared by Charles (Hugh Grant) and his friends. although the more weddings they go to. the more they insist it will never happen to them. Charles loudest of all. That is until the beautiful and mysterious Carrie (Andie MacDowell) walks into his life. Straightforward. American and seemingly quite uninhibited. she is a real contrast to Charles’s
10 The List 6—19 May 1994
NOT THE MARRYING KINI?
American films may dominate British cinemas, but it’s an unassuming British comedy that’s currently topping the US box office. Anwar Brett dons his Sunday best for Four Weddings And A Funeral.
Match of the day: Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell doing their best to stay single.
image ofstaid. bumbling Iinglishness but. while the romantic fireworks are primed to go off. neither of them is prepared to take that chance. It begins to look like Charles is going to be always the guest. never the groom.
Stars MacDowell and Grant have their own vivid memories and mixed emotions about weddings. experiences which made this film all the more relevant. ‘I guess my own wedding made the biggest impact on me.’ laughs the 36- year-old MacDowell. ‘I got married on a mountain called Heavenly Hill. overlooking Lake Tahoe in. like. a hippy ceremony. l was 27. and I thought I was too old to be given away in a church. Plus I had experienced so much in life that I just felt I couldn‘t take the idea of a
puritanical wedding. So I got married on the side of a mountain. my husband‘s friends made this path and we skied down between them. There was a friend of my husband on guitar playing a Jimi Hendrix song called ‘Angel’. and I had an Apache prayer read by a friend of mine. I wore a very simple white dress. it was a beautiful day and I didn‘t even need a coat. It looked like we had a backdrop put down. because it was so surreal. with the lake. the mountains. the sky and the clouds.‘
All very American. she admits. and a real contrast to the odd. sometimes very trying. customs and habits of the British. Hugh Grant explains his own wedding nightmares: ‘I‘m the worst person to invite to a wedding because I‘m always in a foul mood — I don‘t like the bride and groom getting all the attention. So I’ve always been a cloud on anyone‘s wedding. I was horrible at my brother‘s wedding for that reason. and also because I had to make a speech — nothing can put you in a worse mood than that. So I snapped at him. snapped at the bride and snapped at the bridesmaids. who were innocent little things. I was horrible at a weddingjust the other day when I thought I was looking lovely in the full kit. but to my horror I found that my mother had also been invited. She was sitting next to me and just as I was beginning to try and pose a bit. she got out the same cruel blue hairbrush that she‘d had when I was eight. and actually started to brush my hair.‘
‘l’m the worst person to invite to a wedding because I’m always in afoul mood — I don’t like the bride and groom getting all the attention . . . For sheer pleasure, it’s got to be funerals for me.’ Hugh Grant
Nothing quite so outrageous happens in Four Ii’l’ddings And A Funeral. and what we do see on screen is frighteningly credible. For one particular wedding scene. where the nervous priest (Rowan Atkinson) gets everything confused. writer Richard Curtis found that he could draw on personal experiences. ‘That was based on the wedding of a friend of mine called Martin Wynn Griffiths.‘ he says. "I‘bere’s a lot of repetition of names in the Catholic wedding — it just goes on and on — and it transpired that my friend’s name was Martin Peter Dominic Wynn Griffiths. which we all slowly realised included the name of a chain of wine merchants. First twenty people laughed. then forty. until finally the vicar. who was very nervous himself. cracked up.‘
Hugh Grant. still brooding over his bad luck
at weddings. interjects at this point. ‘l’or sheer
pleasure. it’s got to be funerals for me.‘ he grins. ‘and my grandmother‘s in particular was one where I thought I was going to die laughing. Scottish weddings and funerals are very. very formal. and there‘s this ridiculous rigmarole with what corner of the coffin you get to hold. The most important mourner gets to hold the top right-hand corner. but my father was in charge and cocked it up horribly. Six people all tried to hold the same corner and it turned into a bit of a scrum.‘ J
Four W ’ddings And A Scotland on Friday [3 May.
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