But fortunately, this movie is far from! An impressive cast, wonderful story, and even more catchy soundtrack will leave you humming for weeks afterwards. Muriel's Wedding is a tour de force of wonderful filmmaking at its best.
Muriel's Wedding tells the tale of Muriel Heslop, an appropriate name for a girl without much of an identity. At the beginning of the movie, Muriel is a put upon girl with a bleak future and an even more bleak present. She attends the wedding of a "friend" of hers in a stolen dress, which sets up Muriel's life as a series of lies she tells to make herself into something. One lie begets another, and soon, Mariel is off to Syndey with new gal pal Rhonda. Muriel struggles to find herself amidst the lies she tells and the real life for which she yearns, thus the story. This film is most unpredictable, and full of wonderful nuanced surprises that totally make sense to the story.
Toni Collette deserves a standing ovation for her performance of Muriel. This was the first movie that I ever saw her in, and who knew the range of talent she possess. Just watch this movie, and then Sixth Sense, The Hours, and Connie and Carla, and see the range she covers. It should only be a matter of time before people realize her immense and total talent. Just watch Toni walking down the aisle as Muriel; her total, goofy joy is palpable... amazing stuff.
Also appearing is the wonderful and solid Rachel Griffiths as her friend Rhonda. Together, they turn in a tour de force performance to help hapless Muriel find herself.
Much must be said for director PJ Hogan's handling of this material. Given to a lesser director, the script may have gotten out of hand with its numerous twists and turns. Hogan trusts his actors and the stories, and allows them to show through. Also, the film is visually brilliant. Muriel's lip sync of the ABBA song in itself is a scene right from another Australian import "Priscilla Queen of the Desert".
Not to mention the music. ABBA songs feature prominently throughout the movie, and actually allow for the story of the movie to progress wonderfully. It has been said that profits from Muriel's Wedding allowed for the creation of another ABBA delight, the musical "Mamma Mia". If that's true, what another wonderful gift from this movie.
It seemed in the 1990's, Australian performed a wonderful trifecta of movies that blew away American audiences: Muriel's Wedding, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and Strictly Ballroom. Muriel's Wedding may be the lesser known of the three, but it is equally as strong. If you want a funny, funny movie, with wonderful acting, and a dash of drama thrown in, plan to attend Muriel's Wedding soon!