Services like Netflix and YouTube have made the most recent films readily available to anyone. Can we find anything of value in the muck of b-movies, ambitious failures and exploitative crap-fests? We’re going to find out in Dispatches from Instant View Purgatory.
What’re we watching: “Wedding Daze,” a 2006 romantic comedy written and directed by comedian Michael Ian Black and starring Jason Biggs of “American Pie” fame and Isla Fisher of being a cute redhead fame.
What does it look like: If “Wet Hot American Summer” had skewered romantic comedies instead of camp movies, it would have looked an awful lot like “Wedding Daze.”
What’s going on: Jason Biggs plays Anderson, who proposes to his girlfriend who then dies of a heart attack. A year later, still put off by love, he randomly proposes to Katie, a waitress played by Fisher. The two have to deal with their previous love lives as well as convincing their parents and friends that despite their lack of early connection or history, they’re very much in love.
Why haven’t we heard of this: The premise is ridiculous, the title is a terrible pun and there’s jokes about Helen Keller, grave-robbing, applying baby oil to male friends and drinking pickle juice/urine in the first 10 minutes. It’s an uphill climb.
What works: “Wedding Daze” is hysterical, but almost solely for people who are already a fan of Black’s standup. It’s gloriously obscene and jokes turn on a dime, from disgusting to sexy to hilarious in a way that’s absent in nearly every other film. There are few movies that feature Edward Hermann (Richard of Gilmore Girls notoriety) gifting his son with a used cock ring he purchased in Shanghai.
What doesn’t: The movie never handles the emotional moments in a way that balances the comedy. The film feels too much like “Date Movie,” with Fisher giving an emotional scene with boogers hanging out of her nose and snot running down her lips. It doesn’t work anywhere near as well as it should.
Skip to: The scenes when Biggs meets Fisher’s parents are hysterical, beginning with a gloriously surreal game of charades and ending with Fisher’s step-dad, played by Matt Maloy (the Vice Principal from “Election”) showing his homemade toys for Jewish children, namely the stuffed “Jewnicorn” that recites the Talmud when squeezed and his non-working Star of David shaped “Jewla-Hoop.” An early scene when Isla Fisher licks toothpaste off Biggs’ face only to have him cough more paste into her eyes goes from awkwardly sexual to hilarious to painfully gut-wrenching.
The Verdict: “Wedding Daze” is a cult-movie still looking for a cult. The first two acts are hilarious peaks with a terrible premise and it all feels like a lot of fun until the third act turns into a misguided road/heist movie. It’s a solid way to burn through an hour and a half for those with an agreeably disgusting, particularly obscene sense of humor.