You May Not Kiss the Bride (2011)

(On Cable TV, February 2014) I had low expectations for this low-budget romantic comedy, which came out of nowhere with a bland premise, no-name leads and a featured performance by Rob Schneider. Somehow, though, You May Not Kiss the Bride overcomes most of its shortcomings to deliver an entertaining-enough blend of sympathetic protagonists, gorgeous Hawaiian cinematography and effective screenwriting. Here, a Chicagoan photographer is manipulated into fake-marrying a mob daughter to ensure her citizenship. A honeymoon is arranged for the purpose of misleading government authorities, but our protagonist has been warned that he may definitely not kiss or otherwise touch the bride on promises of painful death. Naturally, things don’t quite go according to plan. There isn’t much more to the film than a few performances. Dave Annable and Katharine McPhee make for an appealing lead couple, while Tia Carrere has a welcome supporting role, Mena Suvari repeatedly mugs for laughs and Rob Schneider proves to be far less annoying than expected. Vinnie Jones shows up for a typical turn as the film’s designated heavy, but this isn’t a film that lives on the strengths of its antagonists. While You May Not Kiss the Bride isn’t particularly ambitious (and kind of fumbles its landing by stretching it out), writer/director Rob Hedden should be happy: his film is good enough to make its target audience happy, and may even qualify as a pleasant late-night-cable discovery.

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