Directed by: #KeifGwinn
Written by: #TobiasHussey
Father of the Bride meets The Sopranos in this #comedy short film Russian Whispers. Directed by Keif Gwinn and written by Tobias Hussey, planning a wedding has not been this tense since Bride Wars.
The parents of a Russian lad (Merab Ninidze and Nada Sharp) visit the home of their soon-to-be in-laws (Charlotte Moore and John Vernon), where they plan to "break ice" before the upcoming nuptials. However, questions of class and tradition soon become a sticking point for the parents, who each have their own plans for their offspring's big day.
Full of archetypes and stereotypes, Russian Whispers finds its humour in the great tension that exists when two types of cultures clash. The reserved attitude of the Russians is at odds with the more forward behaviour of the British, yet both sides have a similar trait of not wanting to relinquish control over the wedding. The awkwardness of finance is also used by the #filmmakers, creating a handful of gags at the...ahem...expense of the characters and their money. The father of the bride's numerous plans to call on friends and local suppliers to kit out the wedding is both charming and embarrassing.
Gwinn gets strong performances across the board, in particular John Vernon as the aforementioned bride's dad. His retelling of a joke (which crosses over with one of his sons - Rob Hadden - telling it at the same time) was a particular highlight of the short film. Ninidze delivers a strong and composed turn as the reluctant father of the groom. His chemistry with wife Sharp is terrific to watch.
Russian Whispers reminded me of Channel 4 TV show Friday Night Dinner, in the we get the simple suburban setting and minor calamity of characters going about uneasy social interaction. As such, the short film fails to be that memorable and rather sketch-like, even if it is efficiently funny during the run time. We are never served huge laughs or even any meaty drama, just appetizers of quick chuckles and inconsequential narrative.
Had the story gone to places other than the ill at ease of fairly benign parents (even with the hints at organised crime) there was potential for a resounding clash of cultures comedy feast. As it is, however, the audience is given pre drinks where the food never arrives and we leave feeling satisfied but a little underwhelmed.