by Patrick Bromley
I'm happy to live in a world in which Destination Wedding exists. The romantic comedy, which reunites Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves on screen for the third time in 25 years (following Bram Stoker's Dracula and A Scanner Darkly), succeeds or fails purely on the chemistry and charisma of its two leads, who are the only actors with speaking roles in the entire film. If you're not a fan of one or both of the actors, I'm not sure what you're going to get out of this movie.
Destination Wedding, aka A Narcissist Can't Die Because The Entire World Would End, introduces us to Lindsay and Frank, both attending a wedding they don't want to attend in Paso Robles, California. He's the estranged brother of the groom, she the ex-girlfriend jilted practically at the altar. With no one else to talk to all weekend, the two begin to bond in their shared misery and a kind of friendship forms -- not that either of them would ever be willing to admit it.
I have spent my entire life beating the drum for Keanu Reeves, an actor I have adored since he first came to my attention in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and River's Edge. I have certainly seen him miscast, but I have never conceded to the prevailing wisdom that he is a "bad actor" because he was out of his depth in Dracula. He has always been one of my favorite actors, actually, and it has been rewarding in recent years to watch the tide of public opinion turn and see so many others embrace Keanu not just as a movie star -- the John Wick movies have a lot to do with it -- but just as a decent, likable human being. He's a guy who has always done what he wants, whether it's going up to Canada to play Hamlet or taking a break from movies to go on tour with his band Dogstar (saw them twice live) or take everything he learned about martial arts and fight choreography from his work on the Matrix trilogy and make his directorial debut with a cool little film, Man of Tai Chi. He has done comedy before, particularly early in his career (not just Bill & Ted, but also Parenthood, I Love You to Death, and The Night Before) when a certain airheaded sweetness was his stock in trade. "Adult" Keanu hasn't really done comedy, but Destination Wedding proves he's still got the chops. He does well by the mouths full of dialogue the screenplay gives him, but it's the timing in some of his reactions that made me laugh the most.
Now who do I talk to about getting these two to fall in love in real life?