Invited by force, the review: a super cast for a lukewarm comedy that makes you smile but not reflect

If there’s one thing that almost works better than Christmas comedy, it’s marriage. There are countless films set before and during a wedding but, although the situation is, almost by default, fertile ground to generate more than four laughs, it is not always a guarantee of success. You can have all the credentials, including an exceptional cast and still not score entirely. It is the case that we will analyze in the review of Invite yourself by forcein its original title, The People we Hate at the Weddingmovie about Prime Videos from November 18, directed by Claire Scanlon with Kristen Bell, Allison Janney and Ben Platt among the members of the protagonist dysfunctional family.

The People We Hate at the Wedding: Kristen Bell, Dustin Milligan in an image

Based on the novel of the same name by Grant Ginder, it all begins, as in fairy tales, with the story of a family: Donna (Allison Janney) she got married when she was very young with the handsome Frenchman Henrique. Relocated to London, the two had a daughter, Eloise (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). The idyll is soon over when he cheats on her with the babysitter. Back in the United States, Donna starts a new life and a family with Billie, having two more children, Alice (Kristen Bell) and Paul (Ben Platt). Years later, Eloise, as a super rich posh Londoner, is ready for the wedding of the century and invites her stepbrothers and her mother to her super event. Family reunions, as we know, are an invaluable source of satire and comedy and it is on this that on paper it should be based Invite yourself by force. It’s a pity that the typical clashes of the unsaid, of the fossilized opinions that each member of the group has made on the other, are reached after a long prologue. Claire Scanlon feels the need to let us delve into the lives of the two “younger” brothers Alice and Paul, their apparent miseries and strengths but looking for laughter at all costs, she ends up making the broth longer and boring. When it finally comes to the point, the wedding, two quite physical and hilarious successful gags alone cannot support the weight of the success of an entire film while making it enjoyable. The cultural and social differences between the UK and the US are far too caricatured to be laughable. To close it all and make the judgment on the “must see but without haste, right for the actors” hang, there is an ending that is too happy even if she claims she can’t be. Perhaps to be more credible, having in fact the opposite effect, that is to make the viewer feel a closeness that doesn’t exist.
If there’s one lesson that Richard Curtis has taught us, it’s that it takes courage even to tread the happy ending, blurt it out there with a final hug at an airport. There’s no pleasure in ending with a flourish and then telling us that the picture we’re seeing is happy but not so much because, you know, happiness like this is only seen in fairy tales. But isn’t cinema, especially comedy and entertainment, basically this too? She wants magic, at least at Christmas and yes, even at weddings.

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United States versus UK

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The People We Hate at the Wedding: Kristen Bell, Cynthia Addai-Robinson in a scene

On the differences of life, perceptions, habits, customs that divide certain areas of a country or certain states with similar bases or languages, see the north and south of Italy or France or the United States and Great Britain, for example, there is full global television and film comedy. Invite yourself by force invests in the thick literature on the clashes between apparent cultural diversities by endorsing the clichés about British and Americans, represented by Eloise against her wayward Yankee brothers Alice and Paul. If on the one hand, pursuing stereotypes has the right effect of underlining the inconsistency and superficiality of certain battles or differences, on the other, it has just the opposite effect, making us raise our eyes and sigh, feeling ourselves in the presence of yet another useless joke on the subject or generalization: the British are all sniffles and the Americans are all superficial and loud. For its part, we must concede to the screenwriters Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin and Wendy Molyneux, to have hidden under this surface, reasons far more rooted in the behavior of their protagonists. The flaw is that they only come out towards the end when the film, in fact, takes the right pace and life. Eloise’s life is far from rosy as her brothers and two think, they have never felt worthy of the love and respect they deserve from others, starting with romantic partners.

A few enlightened moments

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The People We Hate at the Wedding: Allison Janney, Isaach De Bankolé, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Karan Soni, Ben Platt

In the middle of the film and the celebrations, therefore, as we mentioned, with the film already underway and almost on the way to its conclusion, it is as if Claire Scanlon had remembered that it was time to push on the accelerator, being on the verge of wasting the right opportunity to play his cards and that cast, then. And here all the best of suppressed grievances flows into an unexpected twist against Alice during the wedding that generates the best “action” sequence of the film which, without spoilers, includes cakes, suits and pee. Next, the clarifying scenes are the ones that reconcile us, along the end, with the film. There are few enlightened moments of Invitati perforce but thanks to good writing and an exceptional cast, they are worth the vision.

Happy ending?

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The People We Hate at the Wedding: Allison Janney, Kristen Bell, Ben Platt during a scene

At the beginning of the review, we brought up Richard Curtis, king of romantic comedy and above all master of writing the best and often realistic happy endings imaginable. Invite yourself by force it is predictable to the right point to make us, in fact, wait for things to go the right way in the end. So why pretend it isn’t? Remember Colin Firth’s character’s declaration of love and marriage to the young Portuguese girl in Love Actually? Was there ever a moment when we didn’t believe it?

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The People We Hate at the Wedding: Kristen Bell, Ben Platt in a sequence

There are two paths in this type of film, or you aim for a probable ending and create a situation in style (500) days together where Sole could never get back with Tom because she was never as involved as he is in the relationship, or where everything will be fine, at any cost, whatever the initial destructive situation. Invite yourself by force he chooses the second path but is afraid to declare it, fears being branded as not very credible and justifies himself through his characters. Happy ending? Yes, but with limited joy for actors and spectators.


At the end of the review of Inviti per forza, a romantic-marriage comedy on Prime Video, we recommend watching the film for its super cast made up of Kristen Bell, Allison Janney and Ben Platt but with some qualms about its inability to enjoy the happy ending. Claire Scanlon gives the best of her direction only towards the second half of the film giving hilarious gags, even physical ones that make the most of the cast’s potential but don’t go beyond the predictable.

Because we like it

  • Kristen Bell, Allison Janney and Ben Platt are queens and kings of dynamic and believable dysfunctional family.
  • The wedding fight sequence is worth the whole movie.

What’s wrong

  • Exploit the potential of the story and cast only from the second half of the film.
  • Use the happy ending but disown it.
  • It rides US vs UK diversity clichés that add superficiality instead of entertaining.

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