A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride (2008)

I’m starting to see that throwing Luke Perry into a picture will probably earn it some points with me, no matter how small the part. The actor doesn’t get top billing here, so I was surprised when he popped up onscreen, not unlike Roxanne (Joanna Garcia) when she suddenly finds several new men in her life. After her mom, Rose (Helen Shaver), returns from a quick trip to Paris, Roxanne is shocked to learn that she’ll be getting a new stepfather instead of, say, a souvenir fridge magnet. It’s not enough that Rose and Jack (Kenneth Welsh) met and got engaged in a matter of days, but they’re also planning to marry by the end of the week, and that’s just enough to drive Roxanne over the edge.

She quickly conspires to crash the wedding, which might not be hard since she’s the one planning it. Roxanne and her mother own their own bridal boutique and though she is hesitant about carrying on the business by herself, she must if she’s going to stop her mom from making the biggest mistake of their lives. Luckily Jack’s son, Charlie (Perry), shows up at their door, and he seems equally eager to halt the proceedings.

Charlie doesn’t hide his intentions. That sneaky, smouldering bastard declares without shame that he’s sabotaging his dad so that he can keep his inheritance. He has no problem making his dad look like a sleaze if it will put off Rose and safeguard his place in the will. True love will not be toyed with though, and his efforts don’t always go according to plan.

I thought this might be a Stop the Wedding situation where Roxanne and Charlie start to fall for one another, and there is a spot of romance between the two potential step-siblings. But first, Roxanne has to figure out her relationship with ex-neighbor and ex-fiancé Dylan (Lucas Bryant), who also conveniently shows up at her door. At a glance, it doesn’t seem like a hard decision. Dylan walked out on her without a word, and now he’s returned with a shaggy haircut and a jacket with a furry duck on the back. Meanwhile, Charlie is, well, Luke Perry.

I don’t say this just because there will only ever be one Dylan for me and that is Dylan McKay. Perry is simply more exciting, and Charlie is all sorts of cheeky. Roxanne may love Dylan, but he’s fairly nondescript. If I hadn’t made a note about disliking his haircut and sartorial choices, I might have forgotten the character even existed. No, the story is made for an actor like Perry and a character like Charlie. It’s a plot that should be ripe with physical comedy and that suits someone with a devilish streak, but there are only a few scenes that take advantage of the story’s natural humor. One sequence involving Roxanne, Charlie, and a closet could have been better choreographed but instead was left to whither away.

Garcia’s chirpiness butts against Perry’s practiced cool anyway, but her character gets more mileage out of her interactions with Rose and even Jack. Their relationships form the heart of the story and show Roxanne love in different forms. Rose encourages her to be independent and the new couple inspire her to give her heart a second chance.

Released: 2008
Dir: Leslie Hope
Writer: Scott Eastlick
Cast: Joanna Garcia, Helen Shaver, Kenneth Welsh, Lucas Bryant, Chantal Perron, Luke Perry
Time: 83 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Lifetime
Reviewed: 2018