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The Wedding Diary
 
The Wedding Diary

Elanne Kong and Ah Niu suffer through The Wedding Diary.
 
  Chinese: 结婚那件事
Year: 2012  
Director: Adrian Teh  
Producer: Lim Teck  
Writer: Rebecca Leow  
  Cast:

Ah Niu, Elanne Kong Yeuk-Lam, Kara Hui Ying-Hung, Shaun Chen, Marcus Chin, Jack Choo, Maggie Theng, Chris Tong, Rosa Chong

  The Skinny:

Likable Singapore-Malaysia comedy that works despite an alarming third act detour into melodrama. It shouldn't win any awards, but as a populist comedy, The Wedding Diary entertains handily.

   
Review
by Kozo:

The Wedding Diary hits all the right sitcom notes before sinking alarmingly into melodrama. Director Adrian Teh helms this hit Singapore-Malaysia co-production uniting talent from both territories plus Hong Kong. Keat (Malaysian singer Ah Niu) is a poor engineer from a Penang fishing family who meets and wins his dream girl Sze-Xin (Hong Kongís Elanne Kong). The problem: sheís super-rich, and her parents (Singaporeís Jack Choo and Hong Kongís Kara Hui) demand a sizable wedding banquet in Singapore if heís to marry their one-and-only girl. Originally her parents are opposed to the union, but Sze-Xin lies that sheís pregnant. The lies donít stop there, because the wedding banquet and assorted expenses are far beyond Keatís means. However, Keat is determined to pay for the wedding and prove his worth to his in-laws, and pretends that he can take the financial slings and arrows. As expected, this predicament leads to a deepening thicket of lies and also opportunities for comedy. Bankruptcy because of family — itís funny!

Despite the sitcom set-up, Wedding Diary manages good laughs thanks to the lead actors and Tehís unpretentious direction. Situations are , for the most part, not overplayed, with gags mining common emotions and cultural issues. Keat faces a gauntlet of wedding obstacles, from friction between the in-laws (Sze-Xinís and Keatís families are mismatched in more than one way) to first-night sex jitters (Keat is a virgin, and Sze-Xin knows it) to disappearing cash (the brideís side rips Keat off frequently). A voiceover from Keat walks the viewer through the details of a traditional Chinese wedding, setting up Keatís spending woes clearly and humorously. Ah Niu makes a fine everyman, and easily earns sympathy because heís believably decent and not that handsome. Elanne Kong is sweet as his lady love, though it beggars belief that she would be this clueless about her fiancťís inability to pay for their 100-table banquet. Still, the film sets up their relationship efficiently and it becomes easy to care about what happens to them.

Itís not as easy to care about the rest of the characters but the film asks us to anyway. Besides Sze-Xinís parents, thereís Keatís dad (veteran Singapore actor Marcus Chin), who has an intricately mapped-out backstory involving Keatís departed mom and the ladies watch he always wears. Relations between all the principals become understandably strained, but instead of a clever resolution, we get a melodrama trope followed by endless scenes of contrition, forgiveness and reconciliation. Wedding Diary is only 98-minutes long but the last 30 minutes packs in the contents of a 40-hour drama. If you also consider the hammy music cues and long-winded conciliatory dialogue, the film wears out its welcome pretty fast. However, despite the melodrama overload, Wedding Diary earns a positive nod because itís good-natured, unpretentious and likable for what it is. This is a commercial film with understandable mass appeal, and if you do the math on the good versus the bad, the good side wins. Yay! Letís do this again next year when the sequel comes out. (Kozo, 2012)

   
  Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Universe Laser (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Original (Cantonese and Mandarin) Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
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