REVIEW: Top End Wedding
Full disclosure: romantic comedies are my kryptonite.
As long as the characters are likeable, the romance feels genuine, and I laugh a few times, I’m pretty much guaranteed to enjoy any rom-com you put before me, regardless of how many clichés are dished out along the way.
You could safely say that I was always going to enjoy Top End Wedding.
Here’s the set up: Lauren (Miranda Tapsell) and Ned (Gwilym Lee), have only got ten days to organise their wedding. They jet off to Darwin, where Lauren grew up, only to discover that Lauren’s Mum (Ursula Yovich) has gone on what appears to be a mid-life crisis road trip. Rather than cancelling their nuptials, Lauren and Ned head off on a road trip of their own to find her, leaving Lauren’s bridesmaids and her Dad (Huw Higginson) to organise the big day in the meantime.
The typical rom-com elements of Top End Wedding aren’t anything new, but are done with conviction, affection, and occasionally a twist. The random choreographed dance sequence makes you want to dance, too. Lauren’s loud and quirky bridesmaids will almost definitely remind you of people you know. The airport scene is one of the funniest moments in the movie.
When it comes to the genre defining romance and comedy, this movie doesn’t miss a beat. For her first foray into the role of script-writer (alongside Joshua Tyler), Tapsell has done a commendable job. Lauren is an engaging and bubbly protagonist; Ned, her husband-to-be, is ridiculously charming (in a silly kind of way). Tapsell and Lee have great chemistry; every second of screen time they spend together is a joy to behold. And all the jokes hit the mark; there’s some you’ll see coming, but most the time it only makes them funnier.
But the relationship drama – and the beating heart of this movie – doesn’t really lie with its romantic leads. Instead, it comes from both mother and daughter reconnecting with their family and culture. Top End Wedding is ultimately about home and community, and it’s what elevates the movie into being memorable, rather than just simply enjoyable.
Director Wayne Blair does a great job of showcasing the natural beauty of the region, and the people who live there. I’ve never wanted to book a trip to the Northern Territory more than I did walking out of the cinema, and it’s nice to have the Australian outback depicted as enchanting rather than deadly.
The title of this movie might tell you exactly how it’s going to end, but if you see Top End Wedding and don’t have a smile on your face for the bulk of the run time, please take a second to check you have a pulse.
Top End Wedding is showing in select cinemas now.
(Image Credit: Universal Pictures)