“The Wedding Guest”

The worse movie of the year happens to be an Indian “Bonnie and Clyde”. Dev Patel’s character is still connected to a hotel, but don’t see this latest hook-up if you are looking for his warmth and charm.

The screenplay, if one can call it that, is horrendous. Michael Winterbottom as both script writer and director is to blame. His comedy/drama “ The Trip To Italy” ( 2014) was so much more satisfying with its sharp editing and with its characters, who were worth caring about. Winterbottom should stick to lighter fare. Noir is hard to do. Love of money is just too shallow as an impetus to fuel this duo. A back story may have helped, but as written, this story is an effort to watch.

Both Jay ( Dev Patel) and Samira ( Radhika Apte) are liars, and they are snake-like in their contortions to steal and kill for pure mercenary ends. There is no ideology here, just pathological self-interest in beating the game. There is some smarts needed to parlay four passports, plan for car exchanges, and border crossings; but, we have seen this kind of underground network many times before. International sim-cards and throw away cell phones have lost their cool.

Patel is good at giving orders: “ You stay here.” “ Put your hair up”.  A sub-theme may be stretched out to include women as their own agents, yet who wishes to be like this creepy, bold planning  male. Samira has her own plan to pocket her former fiance’s family gemstones. Patel’s character just wants a cut. He seems romantically inclined to a girl more despicable than he is. Her first boyfriend side kick is shot by Jay, and Samira helps drag the corpse off the road. She watches Jay torch the body without shedding a tear. Later,  Samira’s swim in a hotel pool is stupidly set to add something sexy to the screen. The soundtrack is cloying and poorly done.

If India is a perfect place to get lost in, the UK is not the place to educate the masses in morals. These are British educated, bad people who are impossible to  like. One scene that is particularly off-putting has Jay, who lies that his real name is Joseph, tries to scare Samira at a  hideaway beach house. He picks up a rock and jabs it toward her as if a live toad would scare her, or that juvenile antics could be equated with this character.  This one glimpse of silliness is the Dev Patel of previous better films, it does not jive with Jay, and is never seen again.

The ending has Jay calling Samira’s name after she has long escaped with half his money and half the jewels. His cell rings and she says that she will miss him. Viewers won’t miss either one.