Posted by Alia Haddad on April 27, 2012 at 8:47 am
I know what you’re thinking: what could Donald Rice’s 1930s British costume comedy (with a touch of drama) Cheerful Weather for the Wedding possibly have in common with Jay Gammil’s portrait of a 20-something girl living in Los Angeles trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life during a one day stint on an ice-cream truck, Free Samples? Well, you wouldn’t be wrong to question the validity of this joint review in terms of plot alone.
So it’s a good thing that this joint review isn’t based solely on the similarities between plot summary. Nope, instead it’s based on the fact that both Cheerful Weather for the Wedding and Free Samples proved to be two cute light-hearted comedies that premiered at the 2012 TriBeCa Film Festival.
Neither film was really groundbreaking or revelatory. Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, which stars Felicity Jones and Elizabeth McGovern, tells the period story of a young woman having instant regrets on her wedding day. On the other hand, Free Samples, which stars Jess Weixler, Jesse Eisenberg, and Jason Ritter, is a very-much present day tale of a young woman having instant regrets about the path her life has taken. Similar main characters in very different settings and time periods.
Even so, both of these main characters are what carry each film. Felicity Jones’s Dolly Thatcham in Cheerful Weather for the Wedding and Jess Weixler’s Jillian in Free Samples are both such strong and compelling characters. And it definitely doesn’t hurt that Jones and Weixler themselves are highly watchable and likable actresses.
Moreover, each film is blessed with quick-witted and entertaining dialogue, beautiful cinematography (and in Cheerful Weather for the Wedding‘s case down-right great editing), as well as a strong cast of supporting characters that add to the hilarity of each film.
Where both film seemed to stray, causing me to label them cute but not groundbreaking, is in both films’ endings. Each ending seemed a little too-easy and a little too-eager to wrap up.
That being said, however, neither ending ruined the two films. In each theater, the audience was left with a fun comedy, ones that had their issues, but ones that were still overall likable and enjoyable.