DVD Review: The Decoy Bride

The Decoy Bride DVD boxSTUDIO: IFC/MPI | DIRECTOR: Sheree Folkson | CAST: Kelly MacDonald, David Tennant, Alice Eve, Federico Castelluccio, Michael Urie, Sally Phillips
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 6/26/2012 | PRICE: DVD $24.98, Blu-ray $39.98
BONUSES: behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, deleted scenes, FX shots
SPECS: PG | 89 min. | Romantic comedy | 2.40:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles
RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

I’ll admit that I’ve become a bit cranky over the years with movies and TV shows that present skinny white women with alabaster skin, symmetrical features, and thick shiny hair as if they were prima facie repulsive to the world in general and the male population specifically simply because they aren’t blondes.  (cf. Tina Fey in 30 Rock, Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses, Rachel Leigh Cook in She’s All That, and Ginnifer Goodwin in just about every film she’s made.)  So I couldn’t help rolling my eyes when, roughly ten minutes into the 2011 British romantic comedy The Decoy Bride, the strikingly lovely Kelly MacDonald (TV’s Boardwalk Empire) was established as a down-on-her-luck, plain-Jane type, about as likely to achieve romantic success as Jo Jo the Dog-Faced Boy. Fortunately for the film—and even more so for the viewing audience—MacDonald is an engaging and charming screen presence who makes The Decoy Bride better overall than it has any right to be.

The Decoy Bride movie scene

David Tennant and Kelly MacDonald hit the aisle in The Decoy Bride.

MacDonald plays Katie, an aspiring writer who—after an unsuccessful turn penning catalog copy for an Edinburgh menswear company—returns to her native home of Hegg, a tiny island off the coast of Scotland.  A string of equally dispiriting romantic failures has led the 30-year-old Katie to declare that she’s “going vegan,” i.e. giving up on men altogether.  That is, until she meets British author James Arbor (David Tennant, one of the more popular Doctor Who incarnations), who has arrived on the secluded isle with his fiancée, international film star Lara Tyler (Alice Eve, She’s Out of My League) seeking a spot isolated enough to stage a private, paparazzi-free wedding.  The press are quickly on their trail, however, and Katie—deemed unattractive but nevertheless “a warm body who can walk twenty feet without falling down” (seriously, do the people who make movies for women just hate women???)—is roped into service as a decoy bride to throw them off the scent.  She and James are thrown together, sparks fly, and predictable romantic wackiness ensues.

While Tennant’s appeal is a bit lost on me (which I’m willing to chalk up to the differences between American and British sensibilities), he and MacDonald play off each other well and infuse otherwise clichéd material with charm. Ultimately this is a light-hearted film, with no real villains (even the spoiled American movie star is revealed to have a warm and generous heart) and happy endings all around. The supporting cast is also entertaining, and it was a genuine pleasure to spend time once again with Frederico Castelluccio (Furio from The Sopranos) and Michael Urie (Mark from Ugly Betty).  Maureen Beattie (Midsomer Murders), as Katie’s terminally-ill-yet-plucky mother, is also a delight.

The Decoy Bride is a straight-up-the-middle acceptable rom-com, an average movie worth watching if only for the performances and the sweeping, hauntingly lovely views of the Isle of Man, where the movie was shot.  Director Sheree Folkson (Hit and Miss) has an excellent sense of place, and the viewer feels firmly embedded within this tiny, seaside community by the movie’s end.  Just try—if you’re a woman not endowed with Kelly MacDonald’s obvious aesthetic assets—not to take the other characters’ sour assessments of her looks too personally.


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About Gwen

Gwen Cooper is a movie and TV lover and the author of Homer's Odyssey (no, not the one you're thinking of).