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Score: 70%
Rating: R
Publisher: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Region: 1
Media: Blu-ray/1
Running Time: 90 Mins.
Genre: Comedy/Romance/Drama
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish


  • Deleted Scenes
  • Outtakes
  • Extended Scene
  • Max Winkler Makes
  • Making of Ceremony
  • Behind the Scenes Footage
  • "A Year in a Tent" - A Film by Whit Coutell
  • HDNet: A Look at Ceremony

Ceremony, the first film to be written and directed by Max Winkler (son of Henry Winkler), is an odd film. When I saw Uma Thurman and especially Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies) were in it, I was intrigued, but after seeing it, I am starting to seriously doubt Thurman's selection process for her films.

Michael Angarano stars as Sam Davis, a not-so-successful children's book writer who invites his estranged best friend, Marshall (Reece Thompson) for a weekend at the beach, so they can reconnect. Once they get there and check into their decrepit hotel, with Marshall having to put up his credit card, no less, Sam is insistent that they walk down the beach to explore a party going on at a grand mansion down the way, one they had stopped at earlier on their way to the hotel. Sam feigns ignorance about the whole situation, as the pair are invited to the party by a drunk man on the beach who turns out to be none other than the brother of Zoe (Uma Thurman), one of the guests of honor at the party. Zoe also happens to be Sam's obsession and a former lover of his and it is clear that Sam had an ulterior motive in planning the weekend getaway. Zoe is marrying long-time boyfriend and famous documentary maker, Whit (Lee Pace), and Sam aims to stop the wedding and win her back.

Under the guise of getting chicks at the wedding, Sam is able to convince Marshall to stay with him at the mansion after they are invited by Whit, who clearly knows who Sam really is and seems to be merely toying with him. It soon becomes apparent to Marshall that Sam has been lying all along, when he discovers a postcard Zoe sent, telling Sam about the wedding. Naturally, Marshall is hurt and disgusted, but Sam continues to try to win Zoe back, even managing to bed her for the night when she enlists his help in writing her vows. But Zoe has higher priorities than simply romantic love and, since she is some 10-15 years older than young Sam, the wealthy and stable Whit seems like a better prospect for marriage, even being the ass that he is. Throughout the ordeal, all Sam and Marshall can do is to marvel at the excess and ridiculousness of everyone at the mansion.

While there were a number of amusing moments in the film, it's not what I would call a comedy, or even a romantic comedy. It's one of those that I have come to call "awkward comedies" because they may have a few funny moments throughout the film, but they are primarily about awkward situations and scenes that make the viewer feel a bit awkward. While I thoroughly enjoyed Michael Angarano and Reece Thompson's performances, it wasn't enough to make me really love this movie. Thurman does a good job in her role and Lee Pace made me hate him in his role as Whit, which is what he was supposed to do. He was totally channeling Russell Brand in some parts - quite a switch from the Lee Pace I am used to.

As far as special features go, there are a number of them. There are a couple of short deleted scenes, an extended scene and outtakes. There is a making-of featurette, a featurette on first-time director Max Winkler, some behind-the-scenes footage and my favorite, a "documentary" by Whit Coutell, the arrogant character Zoe is marrying.

Overall, Ceremony was just simply okay. It wasn't horrible and the acting was competent, but I just didn't enjoy the story much. The surround sound was very effective, but the overall palette of the film was washed out and bleak (intentionally, I am sure) such that the Blu-ray's high def really didn't seem to make a big difference. If you like indie comedy/drama blends, you may like it, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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