Release Date: 5th October, 2012
Director: Jesse Lawrence
Starring: Matthew McNulty, Taluhla Riley, Noel Clarke, Mena Suvari, Susannah Fielding, Brett Goldstein, Rhoda Montemayor, Davie Fairbanks
Screenwriters Noel Clarke, Geoff Carino and Davie Fairbanks present The Knot, their wholly unnecessary and unwanted addition to the slurry of British wedding-themed comedies released this year. If, as would seem to be the case, they were convinced the success of The Hangover films and Bridesmaids was down to the nuptial McGuffins those works featured, Clarke et al. would have felt onto a winner in focusing on the hi-jinks of both the Bride and her Maids and Groom and his gents as they make their separate way to the main event. Sadly, these boys forgot to manufacture a script with any sort of cohesion, charisma, pathos or laughs to house their perceived narrative gold.
The male side of things is represented by loutish Groom Jeremy (the eerily Danny Dyer-inflected Matthew McNulty), prankster Best Man Peter (Clarke), and three other oafs with whom you’d rather kill yourself than have a beer; all testosterone, japery and play-wrestling, this mob are the sort to dismiss Nuts as too highbrow. The ladies are little more sympathetically drawn; Bride Alex (Taluhla Riley) is an insipid focal point, with her crew filled-out by the none too bright but sweet Julie (Susannah Fielding), Anisha (Rhoda Montemayor), a reductive über-slut archetype who thinks it reasonable to run-off with the hen-do stripper then text videos of them at it to her pals as they worry where she is, and the inexplicable presence of Mena Suvari as Alex’s cousin Sarah, deemed a bit uptight because she doesn’t get hammered all the time or throw herself after any fella she stumbles upon. ‘Broad’ doesn’t really cover it.
It’s nothing short of an endurance test to spend any sort of time in the company of these protagonists as the inevitable barriers to getting to the church on time pile-up; even if there were the slightest wit to the gross-out humour or the faintest sparkle to the tiresome, derivative banter, the characters are either so thoroughly obnoxious or utterly banal it would still be near impossible to root for any of them. Clarke has written what he presumably sees at the most amiable chap for himself, but his Peter comes across just as witless and sleazy as the rest of the lads – an awful, horribly misjudged moment where he and a cohort discuss what they’d “like to do to” their supposed mate’s wife-to-be manages to stick-out even when surrounded by a wealth of other inappropriateness.
There’s a bit of homophobia and racial stereotyping, too, if misogyny’s not your prejudice of choice. One of the boys’ hilarious larks involves tricking Jeremy into thinking he’s slept with a transsexual (a running gag thereafter), while Alex’s Spanish parents and an African church congregation are presented like something from a set Jim Davidson may have jettisoned for being too crass twenty years ago. A couple of poorly drawn subplots involving a bizarre threat made against Jeremy and Julie’s abusive, domineering husband are also problematic. The former is simply redundant, but the latter unconvincingly, sloppily wrapped-up and really quite unpleasant given Julie’s naiveté and malleability being earlier mined for cheap laughs before the full extent of hubby’s odiousness is revealed.
A clearly hastily assembled film of zero ambition that fails to deliver on even the base remit of eliciting a chuckle or two, The Knot would be almost forgivable were it skulking about BBC3 or E4 in the wee small hours for everyone to ignore. Hopefully, it’ll end up there sooner rather than later – where it’ll still make Two Pints Of Lager look like Withnail & I.