White Wedding is a South African romantic comedy that contrasts the romance of white weddings with the comedy of cross-country road trips. White Wedding is a collaboration between Jann Turner (Hard Copy), Kenneth Nkosi (Tsotsi) and Rapulano Seiphemo (Jerusalema). The trio co-wrote White Wedding, with Turner directing and Jerusalema duo, Nkosi and Seiphemo starring. It’s a unique South African story, which is composed of heartwarming, funny and genuine homegrown themes. The movie juxtaposes three scenarios, which intertwine and culminate in an everyone wins conclusion. Elvis (Nkosi) and Ayanda (Msutwana) are engaged to be married with their dream wedding literally days away… and Elvis needs to get Ayanda’s grandmother and his best man, Tumi (Seiphemo) to Cape Town. Ayanda is charged with the duty of attending to the finishing touches: final dress-fittings, venue and wedding preparations. In the meantime, Rose (Whittaker), a young English doctor on her way to Cape Town after a fall-out with a friend, hitches a ride with the Tumi/Elvis convoy from Durban. What follows is a funny clash of cultures, traditions and mixed messages as the road trip hits one snag after another in a race to get the groom to the wedding in time.
White Wedding has an inherent local charm that is missing from other South African productions. The script is naturally funny without feeling contrived like most local comedies, and kindles the heartwarming aspects of friendship, love, loyalty and endurance. White Wedding has a host of eccentric characters that add to the cross-section of diversity including: a ladies man, a gay wedding planner, a sloppy auto mechanic and racist rugby supporters. While some stereotypes are used for comic effect, they are just as quickly dismissed with a good dose of laughter. The plot isn’t watertight, but the performances help to plug the holes and the even pacing keeps the road movie on track. Kenneth Nkosi and Rapulano Seiphemo have great on-screen chemistry, which translates into a real feeling of propinquity. Nkosi’s performance is balanced, giving the average guy a fighting chance, while playing for the laughs simultaneously. Seiphemo supports Nkosi’s quest, as the comic foil, adding a touch of class and down-to-earth realism to the film. Jodie Whittaker and Zandile Msutwana share much of the limelight with solid performances that represent two sides to the institution of marriage, while Mbulelo Grootboom plays the smooth operator, ex-boyfriend and villain, Tony.
White Wedding is reminiscent of Samoan Wedding in terms of its local flavour, cultural diversity and thematic content. Samoan Wedding is also a romantic comedy, which gives international audiences a slice of local island life as four friends try to redeem themselves. White Wedding has the same effect as relationships, heart matters and comedy add up to create a solid piece of entertainment. White Wedding may not be as consistently funny as Samoan Wedding, but it really rams home when it wants to and injects much more in terms of natural on-location beauty and cultural contrasts. White Wedding is a breakthrough for South African cinema as a multilingual, multicultural comedy that relies on well-constructed situational comedy rather than crude, crass and derogatory references. White Wedding is worth watching and embodies a cinematic authenticity that many big budget movies fail to capture.
The bottom line: Entertaining.