Monday, March 17, 2014

The Decoy Bride Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
A glamorous American movie star wants to keep the press away from her wedding, but the elaborate charade she devises could wind up ruining everything in the sweet and irresistible romantic comedy The Decoy Bride.  When the wedding plans of internationally famous Hollywood film star Lara (Alice Eve, Men in Black III, The Raven, Sex and the City 2) and English author James (David Tennant, Doctor Who, Fright Night) are sabotaged by a paparazzo, the couple decides to relocate the event to the remote Scottish island of Hegg.  However, dilapidated buildings and greedy islanders are the least of the problems that the wedding party and their Hollywood entourage have to deal with, as Marco (Federico Castelluccio, The Sopranos), the ingenious paparazzo, tracks them down in his mission to photograph the celebrity wedding of the year. Lara and James decide to take even more drastic measures to ensure their privacy.

Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Lara Tyler (Alice Eve) is a beautiful and famous actress.  She is hounded by paparazzi on a regular basis.  All Lara wants is to get married to writer James Arber (David Tennant). As she walks down the aisle, Lara realizes that photographer Marco Ballani (Federico Castelluccio) has been hiding inside the organ waiting for his money shot. 

With one wedding ruined, Lara and James head to the Scottish island of Hegg.  James' bestselling book was set on the island and makes it sound like a beautiful wonderful place.  Lara's management team arrives first and realizes that the island is nothing like it sounds in the book.  Steve (Michael Urie) gets to work quickly, focusing on a rundown castle.  By the time the groom arrives, the castle has been transformed by Steve and now is exactly what the book promised.

The Island of Hegg houses a very small population.  There is one bed and breakfast on the island and it is run by local Katie (Kelly MacDonald) and her mother.  Kelly has been recently dumped and just returned home to the island.  The wedding preparations continue but obsessed paparazzi Marco has been seen near the church in a tree.  The group decides the best way to get rid of him is to give him a wedding to photograph.  Lara realizes that photographers have found them on the island and she disappears.  Steve asks Katie to step in and pretend to be Lara.  They don't tell the groom, hoping it will add realism to the event and his decoy bride is hidden behind a veil.

After being wed, Katie and James are locked in the castle while Steve announces the event.  Katie and James do not get along and insult each other in great detail.  They do not appear to be a very good couple.   After escaping the castle, they head back to the B&B where they learn a lot about each other.  It is also revealed that Katie accidentally signed her own name on the license and the two are actually married. They seek out the priest, who is able to undo the union, but it may not be what the bride or groom really wants.  In typical romantic comedy fashion, they fight and James leaves the island.  The question is will he marry Lara as planned or will he return to Hegg to seek out and apologize to Katie?

I had planned to be either disappointed or surprised and I was pleasantly surprised.  Decoy Bride turned out to be a pretty cute movie, although often predictable.  James turned out to be a pretty likable guy and I started rooting for him and Katie while not wishing ill of Lara.   Actress Kelly MacDonald (and her accent) is very endearing.  The only part I did have an issue with was Lara appearing to fall for the paparazzi Marco.  It’s unclear if she's so shallow that she loves someone for being obsessed with her but the man is not attractive and I don't see that romance happening.  It's a simple movie with some silly plot points that I really enjoyed.
Video (3 out of 5 stars)
The Decoy Bride is presented in widescreen format 2.40:1 ratio.  The Blu ray is acceptable but not exceptional by any means.  Flesh tones are accurate and even and there is never a problem of visibility in daylight or in darker interior shots.  There aren't the typical CGI effects and the film is never especially impressive visually, but I have no specific complaints either.
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
Similarly to the video the audio quality is sufficient for this type of film. The Decoy Bride is presented in English 5.1 sound with subtitles in English SDH and Spanish.  The film is dialogue driven and that dialogue is clear and consistent throughout.  I was always able to understand Kelly MacDonald's accent which usually can be tricky for me.  In other movies with such a thick accent, I've had to adjust the volume to understand the person, but that was not the case with The Decoy Bride.
Special Features (2 out of 5 stars)
The Decoy Bride is a little light in the special features department.  Until you watch the features, it seems like more material than it actually is.
  • Interviews - A significant list of interviews with actors, the director, producer and writers.
  • Behind the Scenes - A behind the scenes look at filming The Decoy Bride.  This is not the usual featurette you'd expect but mostly random footage of the film being shot.  It's like someone's home movies of the filmmaking process - way behind the scenes.
  • Deleted scene - a single very short deleted scene is available.
  • FX Shots - Brief clips show photographers added and the castle exterior being extended digitally.  With no explanation, this is not a very enjoyable feature to watch.
  • Trailer
Final Thoughts (3 out of 5 stars)
The Decoy Bride isn't the most original of ideas but it certainly has some unique elements.  I enjoyed watching the characters reveal their secrets and realize what's really important in life.  It has all the usual styling of a chick flick including Katie's terminally ill mother.  The target audience is definitely women and that's okay.  This is a real mom movie, if anyone is looking for gift ideas for their mom’s upcoming birthday.  It's a film that many people probably haven't heard of but chick flick lovers will enjoy.  Just don't be fooled by the list of special features on the Blu-ray cover because they are all worth skipping.

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