Beautiful Wedding Is More Of A Disaster Than Beautiful Disaster— But I Love It Anyway

Spoilers ahead.

Abby Meacham ‘25 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

It’s hard for a movie sequel to make a good impression. Maybe the first movie did so well that you, the director, strive to make a sequel that is less memorable, but equally as good. Maybe the sequel is completely unnecessary because the first movie already wrapped up its loose ends, but you, the director, are bound by a contract to churn out as many of these babies as possible. Or maybe you’ve got a budget and a dream and you decide to do whatever you want, because you’re the director, and your most successful movie is a campy, drama-laden whirlwind that barely cracks 55 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Completely unrelated— Beautiful Wedding, the (long… awaited?) sequel to Beautiful Disaster (2023) came out just a few weeks ago. After my suitemates and I watched the trailer, we begged our other suitemate if we could rent the movie on her TV and split the difference among the four of us. It was a worthy investment.

Beautiful Wedding (2024) is based on A Beautiful Wedding, the sequel to Beautiful Disaster, and was also written by Jamie McGuire. This time, it gets a little complicated. Following the events of the first movie, our two main characters, Abby Abernathy (Virginia Gardner) and Travis Maddox (Dylan Sprouse), wake up in Las Vegas after a night of debauchery to find that they’ve taken the next step in their relationship: Getting married by an Elvis impersonator. Confused, hungover, and surrounded by money, they do what any logical person would do: Book a luxury vacation in Mexico in order to kick off their honeymoon and escape the clutches of a gambling kingpin. Joined by another chaotic couple, Abby’s roommate America (Libe Barer) and Travis’s cousin Shepley (Austin North), they hitch a helicopter ride to Mexico, and shenanigans ensue.

Key highlights of this film include a cartoon penis, a hot priest that rivals the priest from Fleabag, the beloved Latin-American folk song “La Cucaracha,” the sexiest Spikeball game ever depicted on screen, topless beaches, a tragic family phone call, and an unexpected gay love story. 

In some aspects, the tone is to the film’s detriment. When it comes to romantic movies, it’s important to find the balance between the serious and the absurd. What often makes bad movies bad is how seriously they take themselves, and if you make your movie too dramatic and serious, it risks becoming a comedy. But the other end of that spectrum isn’t great either— that is, making your movie so buck wild that any attempts at sincerity are completely overshadowed. And there are certainly attempts in Beautiful Wedding, but instead of coming across as heartfelt, they cut right through the hilarity and bring the camp train to a screeching halt. 

The same goes with the acting, although it’s a more subtle difference. Despite the switch from a more drama-focused film to a more comedy-focused film, both Gardener and Sprouse ratchet up their performances well, which is tough in a movie where every other sentence is a punchline. But it’s that much more jarring when they have to tone it back down and be vulnerable with each other, and since the film is (supposedly) about their marriage, this happens frequently. Their best acting moments kill the pacing, humor, and overall enjoyment, which is a shame. 

That being said, the best way to watch this film is with your brain turned off, surrounded by other people who can see the same things you’re seeing and thus make you feel like a grounded, sane person. You can watch Beautiful Disaster beforehand, but don’t worry— the telenovela-style narrator will give a quick rundown if you decide to go in blind. 

Beautiful Wedding is available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.

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