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‘Love. Wedding. Repeat’ a wacky, comfy rom-com

Katie Walsh
Tribune News Service
Sam Claflin, right, and Eleanor Tomlinson star in "Love. Wedding. Repeat."

Madcap British rom-coms about weddings are like hot toddies: instantly warm, comforting and possessing strange healing powers. So thank goodness for the swift and sprightly charms of “Love. Wedding. Repeat,” writer/director Dean Craig’s remake of the 2012 French film “Plan de table.”

The usually suave and sinister Sam Claflin is cast as the hapless, hopeless romantic leading man Jack, and he takes to the comedic role with ease and good humor. Claflin demonstrates his range while holding the film together, which is a breathlessly paced tale of a worst-case scenario wedding.

Jack’s sister Hayley (Eleanor Tomlinson) is getting married in Rome, where Jack’s ex Amanda (Freida Pinto) and her new boyfriend Chaz (Allan Mustafa) are seated next to him. Maid of honor Bryan (Joel Fry), Jack and Hayley’s best friend, is being relentlessly pursued by the kooky Rebecca (Aisling Bea); Sidney (Tim Key) wore a kilt even though he’s not even Scottish; and now Jack’s crush from years ago, Dina (Olivia Munn), has shown up, right around the time Hayley’s druggy high school fling, Marc (Jack Farthing), arrives. Hayley implores Jack to slip Marc a sedative, and the whole thing unravels from there. It’s a comedy of errors nestled inside a comedy of manners, because it’s all the mixed-up manners that lead to most of the errors.

There’s a bit of a twist à la the Tom Cruise/Emily Blunt actioner “Edge of Tomorrow,” which sported the log line “Live. Die. Repeat.” One has to assume Craig was inspired by that film, in which Tom Cruise keeps dying and keeps trying, testing out a different solution each time. Craig plays a little game of chance and “what if?” with the seating arrangements, toying with the notion that everything can change with the simple drop of a place card.

But “Love. Wedding. Repeat” wants to break free of the shackles of “bad timing,” of fate, of the meddling friends who always manage to mess things up. This is a film that argues that your destiny is about the actions you take with the opportunities you get, not simply accepting what’s handed to you because it’s the polite thing to do.

Because this is a crowded ensemble and a primarily narrative-driven experiment, the characterizations are fairly thin. We don’t really even know much about Jack, just through his actions for others. Though the casting of Munn opposite Claflin makes for an odd pairing, and Munn doesn’t quite nail the naturalism of Claflin’s Hugh Grantian bumbling mumbling in their banter, Claflin ably carries the film as the emotional center around which the rest of the crazy characters orbit.

“Love. Wedding. Repeat” isn’t quite “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” but it scratches that same itch, serving up a comforting cocktail of wacky and sometimes realistically raunchy adult humor with heart.

‘LOVE. WEDDING. REPEAT’

2.5 stars

Cast: Sam Claflin, Olivia Munn, Joel Fry, Eleanor Tomlinson, Aisling Bea, Freida Pinto.

Directed by Dean Craig.

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

No MPAA rating.

Available on Netflix