Laz Alonso, center, and Paula Patton, right, star in "Jumping the… (Jonathan Wenk / Associated…)
If Britain's royal wedding put you in the mood for love, or at least nuptials, get thee to a cinema: There's an onslaught of marriage movies coming to theaters in the next few months.
The timing is mere coincidence; most of these films were in production before Prince William popped the question to Catherine. But if the royal couple is aiming for a drama-free happily-ever-after, filmmakers love the wedding genre exactly because it's rife with drama — and romance, scandal and conflict.
"A wedding is perfect for a movie because it's an event that kind of has a beginning — an engagement that sets you on a course story-wise," says Paul Feig, director of the upcoming comedy "Bridesmaids." "It's a perfect storytelling device."
Elizabeth Hunter, who cowrote the screenplay for "Jumping the Broom," which opens Friday and revolves around two very different African American families meeting for the first time at their children's wedding on Martha's Vineyard, couldn't agree more.
"You know that a wedding is always a very heightened situation because theoretically vows last forever and that makes people nervous," she said. "Understandably so, which is why I never married."
Hunter also believes these movies make audiences forget their own problems. "Usually, wedding movies have a very uplifting" ending, she says. "In these troubled times, people want to see rebirth, they want to see new beginnings. People want to be optimistic."
Besides "Jumping the Broom," two other wedding movies are being released this week: "Something Borrowed," based on the novel by Emily Giffin, stars Ginnifer Goodwin as an unhappy, single New York attorney whose brash, childhood friend (Kate Hudson) is engaged to the man (Colin Egglesfield) she has had a crush on since law school; "When Harry Tries to Marry" is an indie comedy about an Indian college student in Manhattan who decides to have an arranged marriage.
Wedding fever attacked the cast and crew of "Something Borrowed" — John Krasinski is a newlywed; Hudson and Goodwin are engaged; director Luke Greenfield is getting hitched about 10 days after the film is released to Sarah Baldwin, who has a small part in the movie.
"Talk about timing," said Greenfield. But the film didn't inspire him to get married. "Absolutely not," he said, laughing. "We are trying to keep it small. It's a destination wedding in Cabo and then honeymooning in Italy. Three of my closest friends I have known since I was 10 years old are my groomsmen."
The raunchy but sweet R-rated comedy "Bridesmaids" opens May 13 and revolves around two childhood friends (Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph) whose bond is put to the test when the unemployed Annie (Wiig) is asked to become maid of honor at Lillian's (Rudolph) ritzy wedding. Other wedding movies marching down the theater aisle soon include "Love, Wedding, Marriage" (June 3), "Bride Flight" (June 3) and "Love Etc." (July 15 in Los Angeles).
Though there have been numerous wedding-themed movies with female-driven stories, including 1997's "My Best Friend's Wedding" and 2008's "27 Dresses," the biggest hits — 1991's "Father of the Bride," 2005's "Wedding Crashers" and 2009's "The Hangover" — have been dominated by male protagonists.
"The cynic in me would say producers, and that includes studios, want to bring the men into the theaters and one way to do that is to have a traditionally female genre told from a male point of view," says Hunter.
Feig says this fact caused a "weird pressure" while making his comedy. "Basically, I felt if I screw this up, it is just going to reinforce this belief that women can't carry a movie or you can't do a movie that stars all women. I think it's crazy because there are plenty of movies about guys that bomb too, but when a movie about women bombs it's like 'Oh, it can't be done,'" he said. "All my friends were women growing up, so I never kind of understood the whole idea of not using women correctly in movies."