Paul John Hogan

, /10

Paul John Hogan (Australia, 1962) directed the sex farce Muriel's Wedding (1994).

At a friend's wedding the fat, ugly and boring Muriel catches the bouquet that the bride throws in the air but is forced by her girlfriends to surrender it. Her girlfriends are ashamed of her. Her own father is: she is unemployed and spends most of her spare time daydreaming about her own (improbable) wedding. She almost gets arrested because she stole the very dress she wore at the wedding, but her father is a powerful politician and gets her out of trouble. Nonetheless, her fashionable girlfriends are not any better off: on her wedding night the bride finds out that the groom had an affair with another girl (she found lipstick on his penis). The four fashionable girlfriends decide to take an exotic honeymoon-replacement vacation together but make sure to leave Muriel behind. Muriel uses a blank check signed by her father and runs away to the same exotic place where her snobbish friends are. There she meets her highschool friend Rhonda, a carefree and sex-obsessed independent woman, who also hates those girls. Muriel's parents, meanwhile, think that she has gotten a job selling cosmetics. When her dad finds out that she stole money using the blank cheque, it is too late: Muriel comes back but she has already spent a fortune dancing and drinking with Rhonda. She runs away to the city to work in a videostore and live with Rhonda. She gets her first date and changes name to Mariel. When watching television, they see Rhonda's father begging her to return. Muriel's father is under investigation for the missing money. Rhonda invites two sailors to her bedroom while Muriel's date tries to undress her. Muriel finds this hilarious and laughs hysterically. The sailors think that she is being raped and beat up her date. Muriel keeps laughing. Rhonda, however, stops laughing when she realizes that she can't move her legs. It turns out that she has a tumor and surgery is required. She is left in a wheelchair, with some hope to return to walking. One day Rhonda finds the photo album that Muriel has created by trying bridal dresses at stores around town. It is Muriel's psychotic imagination at work, but Rhonda takes it seriously and suspects that her best and only friend is about to dump her for a marriage. Rhonda catches Muriel in a bridal-dress shop and gets mad, but Muriel has to explain in tears that it is not for real. Muriel returns to her father, who announces that he has left her mother for his secretary. He has a job lined up for Muriel, who argues in vain that her new name is Mariel. Rhonda has bad news: the cancer is back and she will never walk again. Just then Muriel has got good news: someone wants to marry her. It is an arranged marriage, but nonetheless a marriage: a Southafrican swimmer, who would not be able to compete in the Olympics because of his citizenship status, needs to marry an Australian girl to become an Australian citizen, and Muriel is readily available. It doesn't hurt that he is also handsome, and that Muriel gets paid some money for this. Her dream come true in every possible way, except that he doesn't care about her. The wedding is in fact widely publicized in the newspapers. Finally Muriel's wedding takes place for real. The swimmer is ambitious about winning just like Rhonda is about getting married. Muriel even forgets to invite her mother, who shows up at the last minute and has to sit in a corner of the church. Rhonda too is in a corner of the church, sitting in a wheelchair. The fashionable dumb girlfriends, instead, are the maids of honor. Muriel says bye to Rhonda, whose fate is now to go back to her hated hometown to live with her mother, visited by her fashionable dumb girlfriends. Muriel's mother is arrested for taking shoes in a store and forgetting to pay for them (an honest mistake) and that's the perfect excuse that her husband was waiting for: he divorces her. Shortly thereafter she dies, officially of a heart attack but in reality of sleeping-pill overdose. Muriel finds an album where her mother collected photos of her up to the wedding: the last photo shows her mom sitting alone at a table at her wedding reception. Muriel had not even noticed that her mother was attending. Her stepmother takes over immediately. Muriel cries and her husband finally takes her virginity, but now it is she who does not want him anymore. Muriel (not Mariel) asks Rhonda to move back with her. Rhonda happily leaves her mother and their hypocritical friends, calling them "cocksuckers".
(Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )