The Honeymoon Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Dean Craig
Stars: Pico Alexander, Maria Bakalova, Asim Chaudhry, Lucas Bravo, Mario Valeria Montesano, Michaele Enrico Montesano, Sergio Valasta, Roberto Alinghiere.
This cringeworthy and unfunny comedy is an Italian/British co-production and is has received some of the worst reviews of the year.
Adam (Pico Alexander, from Red Dead Redemption II, etc) has been best friends with Bav (Asim Chaudhry, recently seen in the romcom What’s Love Got To Do With It?) since they were children and they called themselves “the inseparables.” But as a teenager Adam moved to America with his family for many years before returning home to London. And although Adam and Bav kept in touch, Bav has somehow felt resentful.
When the film opens, Adam is marrying his girlfriend Sarah (Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, from Borat 2, Bodies Bodies Bodies, etc). But the wedding doesn’t go without a hitch as Adam’s best man, his childhood friend Bav, loses the ring and then makes a cringeworthy speech at the reception. And it goes downhill from there. Due to a misunderstanding, Adam is made to feel guilty and, against his better judgement, somehow invites the obnoxious and socially awkward Bav along on his honeymoon to Venice. Sarah is not impressed and feels uncomfortable around him.
What was supposed to be a romantic getaway turns into a disaster when Bav leads Adam and Sarah into a dangerous situation after he befriends the charming, handsome and rich Giorgio (Lucas Bravo, from Emily In Paris, etc).
Giorgio invites the three friends to spend the weekend at his luxurious palazzo. But it turns out Giorgio is a drug dealer, and is following in his gangster father’s footsteps. Giorgio holds Sarah hostage while he forces Adam and Bav to smuggle a shipment of cocaine into Slovenia. With Bav along nothing goes smoothly as he makes one bad decision after another. Adam experiences a frantic couple of days as the pair lurch from one dangerous and catastrophic situation to another. Meanwhile Sarah is charmed by Giorgio who seems to share her passion for art.
This painfully unfunny comedy comes from writer/director Dean Craig, who previously wrote films such as Death At A Funeral and A Few Best Men. But his comedic sensibility seems to have deserted him with this tone deaf mix of romcom, buddy comedy and action comedy. The script is fairly generic and taps into the tropes of the odd couple buddy comedy and the action comedy, but much of the humour is cringeworthy and falls flat. There is also plenty of humour based on bodily functions that fails to elicit much in the way of laughs, and Craig’s pacing is uneven.
Even worse though is the complete lack of chemistry between the three leads. Chaudhry and Alexander create a wonderful contrast with their characters who have vastly different personalities, but it is hard to see how the boorish Bav and the essentially decent but meek Adam have remained longtime friends though. Chaudhry plays a grating, irritating and crude character that seems to suit his on-screen persona, and he improvises a lot of his dialogue. While he was fine in a brief couple of scenes in What’s Love Got To Do With It? here he is on screen much of the running time and his presence becomes more annoying as the film continues. His performance as the bumbling Bav is over the top and lacks subtlety. Alexander does what he can with a character who spends much of his time reacting to situations. Bravo brings plenty of charm to his role and Bakalova does well as the frustrated Sarah.
On a positive note, The Honeymoon was shot on location in picturesque Venice, and it is obvious that Craig has a love for the country – he shot his earlier film Love Wedding Repeat there as well. The film looks great thanks to the cinematography of Mike Stern Sterzynski (Bank Of Dave, etc).