Almost Married is a romantic comedy that is neither romantic nor particularly funny, but I suppose some might suggest a film dealing with a “serious” STD shouldn’t be. The victim of said venereal disease is everyman Kyle, played by a rather likeable Philip McGinley, who discovers his ailment following his bachelor party orchestrated by best man Jarvis. Jarvis, played by Mark Stobbart, is the films comic relief, a phrase which here means the character who says the most obscene things and is generally a bit of an arsehole. Jarvis and Kyle work together as they try to keep Kyle’s bethrothed from having sex with him in the run-up to the wedding. This is tricky in Almost Married as all of its female characters seem to be completely and utterly obsessed with sex, none more so than Emily Atack’s Lydia, fiancée extraordinaire.
The script itself feels like the first draft of an average romantic comedy. The jokes are increasingly predictable, as are the films various twists and turns. At times I wished I could be watching back in the comfort of my own home, purely so I could scream at the TV as the characters made ridiculous decision after ridiculous decision. It felt like I had seen the film before, as if some sort of film-making paint-by-numbers.Take one likeable man, one less-likeable but chauvinistic and therefore funny (?) man, one attractive woman who is capable of being on a movie poster but not really being in the film that much, two sets of parents who are hilariously parents, add a happy ending and you’ve got a hit right? Worked for Gavin and Stacey on the Beeb, so why not for Ben Cookson feature debut?
It might be that the film not only lacked a happy ending, but has you leaving the picture literally seething. Cookson M. Nights the film and needlessly tacks on a twist. It’s almost as though Cookson has it in for Kyle and the entire film is just twisting the knife again and again. The final twist of the blade would be ok, if the film were not to end immediately after. We see no resolve for Kyle, no retribution, it just ends. Endings like this are always decisive, and can often leave a sour taste in your mouth but normally they are more suited to there films. In Almost Married it just further proves that this movie is experiencing a deep identity crisis. Am I a comedy? A drama? A romance? I understand that Cookson would probably argue that “life goes on” and “all endings aren’t actually endings” (not actual quotes from him or anyone), and whilst this is mostly true, in a film which sets up specific time parameters, like Almost Married (The film follows the 90 days he must go without sex as directed by his doctor), the audience are expected a resolve after the 90 days, and the film doesn’t even make it that far. It’s an awful decision as audience members are always going to be left feeling unfulfilled and underwhelmed.
Unfortunately for Almost Married, the ending is literally the last of its problems. What proceeds it is at times almost painful to watch, but it isn’t always terrible. McGinley remains likeable throughout and at certain points I could be found chuckling along to something gross that Jarvis had said, or maybe one of the parents having said something a person might say, but that was sadly it. Stobbart was average, and Atack felt more wooden than her Inbetweeners days.If you enjoy comedies that are vulgar purely for the sake of being vulgar, and you feel that closure is overrated, then Almost Married might be for you. If not, steer clear.