There are always those wedding guests – the select few who make an inappropriate speech, drink too heavily, show up inexcusably late, cause a scene, or, worse yet, wear white, thoroughly upstaging the bride. For whatever reason, nuptials just seem to cultivate egregious behavior. Ask any newlywed – or director Claire Scanlon, who tackles the subject in her new Amazon Studios film, “The People We Hate at the Wedding.” Based upon the 2017 Grant Ginder novel of the same name, the irreverent comedy tells the story of siblings Alice (Kristen Bell) and Paul Stevenson (Ben Platt), who are roped into traveling to London to attend the nuptials of their extremely wealthy estranged half-sister, Eloise (Cynthia-Addai-Robinson), and wind up wreaking havoc throughout the multi-day affair. As Scanlon expressed to Above the Line, “It all comes to a head, as weddings tend to, which is why I think there are so many films that feature weddings — because that’s when everyone’s forced to be together. You can’t escape and you’re supposed to be on your best behavior. And of course, no one is because you’ve got alcohol and music and lots of people, and the tensions [are] heightened.” Hitting Amazon Prime last week, the film’s release was well-timed considering most Americans are currently preparing for the similarly stressful endeavor of gathering with loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving. ‘Tis the season for comedies about dysfunctional families!
Although widely panned by critics and audiences alike, “The People We Hate at the Wedding” boasts more than a few undeniable laugh-out-loud moments, including Alice’s opening line, “I am five minutes away from homiciding someone!” The movie is also chock full of gorgeous scenery. Filmed on location in London, Scanlon calls the production a “love letter to the city,” and she certainly showcases some of its most beautiful spots throughout. The elegant eatery where Alice and Paul dine with the rest of their family upon arriving in town is Estiatorio Milos, a Greek seafood establishment situated in Westminster’s former British Columbia House. The incredibly unique – and incredibly grandiose – residence belonging to Alcott (Julian Ovenden) is a converted Kenmont Gardens church that spans over 6,000 feet. Eloise finds solace in a double cheesy gordita at the Taco Bell outpost at 90 High St. in Watford. And the film’s eponymous wedding is held at Wickham House, a striking former rectory turned special events venue in Newbury, about 60 miles west of London.