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Polish Wedding

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Polish Wedding

Starring: Claire Danes, Lena Olin
Director: Jerry Crampton
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 101 Minutes
Release Date: July 1998
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

*Also starring: Gabriel Byrne, Mio Takaki, Daniel Lapaine, Mili Avital, Philippe Leroy

Review by Susan Granger
1 star out of 4

Even with a stellar cast that includes Lena Olin, Gabriel Byrne, and Claire Danes, first-time writer/director Theresa Connelly's ridiculouscomedy quickly becomes a Polish joke. The story revolves around the boisterous, working-class, immigrant Pzoniak family in Detroit who are devoted to pickles, pierogi, the polka, and the American dream. Papa (Gabriel Byrne) is a baker; Mama (Lena Olin) and daughter-in-law (Mili Avital) workas cleaning women; and the three grown sons drive an 18-wheeler. To their chagrin, the only daughter (Claire Danes) is a reckless, pouty high-school drop-out - and carelessly pregnant, despite the fact that she's playing Mother Mary in the local church's Festival of the Virgin procession. Like her mother, she's a lusty wench. Mama's into long-term adultery with a successful businessman (Rade Serbedzija) who calls her his "queen" andtheir trysts are consummated on the tile floor of the men's bathroom where they cavort in soapy detergent. These professed Roman Catholics rationalize their wanton sexual behavior with their passionate belief in "making love and life." Credit Ms. Connelly for writing and directing earthy characters with whom she's familiar - she grew up in the Polish-American Detroit suburb of Hamtramck - but all the sticky, sweet, blue-collar melodrama doesn't add up to a movie. Whenever there's a dramatic crisis withinthe family, Connelly goes for inappropriate slapstick farce. So, on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Polish Wedding" is a sappy 3. It's a wannabe "Moonstruck" that is struck down.

Copyright 1998 Susan Granger

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