Review: Ceremony DVD

STUDIO: Magnolia | DIRECTOR: Max Winkler | CAST: Uma Thurman, Lee Pace, Reece Thompson, Rebecca Mader, Michael Angarano
RELEASE DATE: 6/21/11 | PRICE: Blu-ray $29.98, DVD $26.98
BONUSES: featurette, deleted scenes, extended scenes, outtakes, more
SPECS: R | 90 min. | Romantic comedy | 2.35:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Ceremony movie scene

Uma Thurman could very well be in love–or not–in Ceremony.

From debuting writer/director Max Winkler (son of Henry) comes this winning romantic comedy, which has some satiric bite and eccentric characters that would make Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums) smile.

Ceremony stars Michael Angaramo (The Lost Kingdom) as Sam Davis, a children’s book author who discovers his older, ex-girlfriend Zoe (Uma Thurman, Percy Jackson) is about to marry an annoying documentary filmmaker (Lee Pace, The Resident). With help from his best friend (Reece Thompson, Daydream Nation), Sam crashes the wedding and tries to win back Zoe.

Angarano’s Sam is a fool in sheep’s clothing, affecting his speech pattern like an uber-WASP and wearing a phony mustache. If he reminds you of Michael Cera in Youth in Revolt, it’s no surprise as Cera was once cast in this film

Zoe doesn’t even seem to like her future groom, a pompous jerk who is premiering his latest movie at the wedding, but she sees him as the source of some security. Hence, the dilemma: Zoe finds herself at a wedding attended by two lovers, neither of which she loves. You may have to suspend your belief as this predicament is faced by the lovely Ms. Thurman, now playing “the older woman” role.

While filmmakers Wes Anderson and Alexander Payne (Sideways) are obvious influences, Winkler shows a nice, original and often ambivalent feel for his characters and a way with quick-fire comic dialog.

All of the actors are fine, especially Thurman, whose character doesn’t wear her conflict on her sleeve, and Pace, who’s so narcissistic, he’s unfazed by the appearance of a romantic rival at his own wedding.

There are a number of bonus features on both the Blu-ay and DVD, most notably an extended scene of a hysterical wedding toast made by Zoe’s brother, portrayed by Jake M. Johnson, and a solid behind-the-scenes featurette that finds the filmmaker doing his job on set.


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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.