Why are we so reliant on American imports for cinematic laughs? Movie franchises like The Hangover and American Pie clean up at our multiplexes despite the wealth of homegrown talent. The Knot hopes to follow in the pubescent footprints of The Inbetweeners Movie by redressing the balance, but despite noble intentions, some decent ideas and a few appealing performances, it falls short of the mark.
Flitting between the male and female camps on the wedding day of Jeremy (Matthew McNulty) and Alexandra (Talulah Riley), The Knot attempts to extract mirth from the group dynamics, with both frantic parties encountering serious problems before reaching the altar. The groom has a procession of puerile pranks to negotiate, along with a psychotic ex-girlfriend, a jar of pig's testicles and major transport issues.
Concurrently, the bride has to contend with a dodgy stomach, a missing bridesmaid and the effects of a champagne-related incident in her limo. Their frenzied escapades are interspersed with clips from a wedding video, with the couple taking it in turns to muse on various matrimonial themes.
This structure leaves The Knot in a tangle though, as the efforts to mesh sweetness and grossness lacks the necessary emotional and visceral impact, respectively. The constant flitting between the groups, flashbacks to the chaotic hen night and stag do, plus those clips of the leads being interviewed for the wedding vid - it deprives the viewer of valuable time to become acquainted with the characters and who they are.
There's not much sense of the protagonists' identity; they're unrelatable and serve as mere plot devices for the most part. Nonetheless, there are well-intentioned character journeys for the bridesmaids Julie (an impressive and sympathetic Susannah Fielding) and Sarah (American Pie's Mena Suvari), although the ultimate pay-offs feel slightly too contrived and clumsily executed.
The large ensemble cast gives it their best shot with a script that lacks sufficient inspiration and sustained mirth, despite a handful of amusing moments spread sporadically throughout the movie. The leads Talulah Riley, so effective as Miss Evangelista in Doctor Who story 'Silence In The Library', and Matthew McNulty are both amiable, but given little dramatic meat to sink their thespian teeth into.
Brett Goldstein shines as the unfortunate Albert, who is quite literally on the receiving end of most of the movie's toilet humour courtesy of Noel Clarke's best man Peter before he embarks on an ill-fated quest to secure transport. Let's just say we don't recommend munching on any sweetcorn soon after seeing this movie.
Several ideas that would have looked good on paper are scuppered by a combination of poor editing and direction, with big 'reveals' like the groom waking up next to a transvestite deprived of impact through mishandled execution.
It's important to support homegrown movies, but for reasons outlined above The Knot simply doesn't do the talent enough justice. Like many marriages, this movie starts with the best possible intentions but ends in tatters.
> Read our interview with 'The Knot's Mena Suvari