Wedding Diary, The (2012)






THE SCOOP 

Director:  Adrian Teh
Cast:  Ah-NiuKara HuiElanne Kwong, Zhu Houren, Marcus Chin
Plot:  A newlywed couple faces money and marital issues after their grand wedding, as they struggle to make sense of an uncertain future.

Genre:  Comedy / Drama

Awards:  -
Runtime:  96min
Rating:  PG for some sexual references.

IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)

The third local film to hit our screens this year after the Chinese New Year double-bill - Jack Neo's We Not Naughty, and Kat Goh's Dance Dance Dragon, The Wedding Diary strives to tap on the week of Valentine's Day as a marketing strategy.  

Very much a crowd pleaser, this Adrian Teh-directed feature has a good mix of humorous and touching scenes.  It is also a considerably more well-executed film than either of the abovementioned films.  The Malaysian-born director delivers above expectations as his comedy-drama is as much a socially-conscious film as it is a culturally relevant one.

As its title suggests, The Wedding Diary is a recount of how two lovebirds got together, splurge on a lavish wedding, and face a test of their marriage as money issues and lies force them into a tight corner. 

The lovebirds, Daniel (Aniu) and Tina (Elanne Kwong), are both from different families. Daniel comes from a humble Hokkien Malaysian family; his father (played by Marcus Chin) sells salted fish for a living in Penang. Tina, on the other hand, comes from a rich Cantonese Singaporean family, with her parents quietly at loggerheads with each other.

Adrian Teh brings out the clashes in culture, and the materialistic ideality of how a wedding should be like in his film.  The Wedding Diary is a criticism of the "lavish wedding", when what is ultimately more important is what happens after the grand occasion.  

Common marital issues are laid out, but these are only part of what that drives the plot.  The crux of Teh's film is about the need to be loved by one's loved ones.  It explores, especially in the film's moving second half, the importance of familial love, sacrifice, and remembering cherished memories.

A visual motif in the film is the watch.  There is a simple but effective flashback sequence that details the poignant story of Chin's character and his watch.  And to be honest, his character is by far the most memorable in the entire film.  

However, that's not to say the leading cast have not done a good job.  There is excellent chemistry between Aniu and Kwong, and their interactions channel a vibe of youthful awkwardness and innocence.  The supporting cast of Kara Wai, Zhu Houren, and Shaun Chen give adequate performances as well. 

The Wedding Diary does not offer any breakthrough in terms of storytelling.  And this remains a sore point in local filmmaking.  Most of Singapore films have always been like an old ferris wheel, always taking audiences to the same spot whenever they pay for a ride.

However, director Teh has made The Wedding Diary more polished than any other local live-action feature in recent years, with scenic shots of the Malaysian landscape a sight to behold.  The film is not something new, but at least it is something more.

Verdict: This straightforward, half-decent local film by Adrian Teh is quite polished.

GRADE: B- (7/10 or 3 stars)








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