Constructing a great romantic comedy is harder than it looks. Without straying much from the formula—first the meet-cute, then many false starts, all culminating in happily ever after—the creators have to provide some element of novelty. Bringing Up Baby had a leopard. Obvious Child had an abortion. And the beloved 1994 rom-com Four Weddings and a Funeral was built around three delightful ingredients: the extreme Britishness of screenwriter Richard Curtis, who would further distinguish himself in the genre with Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary and more; a charming lead actor in Curtis muse Hugh Grant, making his kooky-dreamboat breakthrough; and a script that avoided everyday life in favor of the events listed in the title.
Sadly, the much-anticipated Hulu adaptation that will debut on July 31 has none of these elements (or their equivalents) to recommend it. Spearheaded by Mindy Kaling and billed, confusingly, as a “limited anthology rom-com series,” this new Four Weddings and a Funeral plays like a remix more than a straightforward remake. Both versions follow a group of friends through that dizzying period of their early 30s when everyone suddenly get hitched. From the original, Kaling and her collaborators (among them Curtis, an executive producer) repurpose bungled best man speeches, secret crushes, rich older men wooing young women, weddings that end abruptly at the altar. They even quote Grant’s floppy bangs in the untamed hair of bookish Duffy (John Reynolds of Search Party and Stranger Things). Grant’s co-star Andie MacDowell appears in a small role.
The object of Duffy’s unspoken affections is Maya, a communications specialist who stayed in the U.S. to work in politics after college while Duffy moved with their friends Ainsley (Mindy Project alum Rebecca Rittenhouse) and Craig (Brandon Mychal Smith) to London. Played by Nathalie Emmanuel, in her first big TV role since her moving performance as Game of Thrones’ tragic Missandei, Maya is a gender-flipped update of Grant’s indecisive bachelor character, and her visit for Ainsley’s wedding throws the expat clique into flux even before she has a heart-to-heart with a cute Brit at Heathrow who turns out to be the groom, Kash (Nikesh Patel). Meanwhile, Ainsley’s haughty English neighbor (Downton Abbey‘s Zoe Boyle) is jealous of Maya’s history with her new best friend. And in a fairly gratuitous side plot, Craig has a tumultuous romance going with working-class Londoner Zara (Sophia …read more
Source:: Time – Entertainment