I know how horrible this sounds, but sometimes I am relieved that my parents died before my wedding. I know, that makes me sound like the worst daughter in the world, if not the worst person in the world. I mean, I still feel sadness they won’t be there, and I know I’ll miss them on my wedding day, but I’m not blind to the silver lining here: I don’t have to worry about “Mama drama” destroying my wedding or my dad missing his cue to walk me down the aisle because he’s taking another smoke break.
That Old Feeling reminded me of these shameful feelings by putting on stark display the extent to which parents can ruin a wedding. Paula Marshall plays the bride, Molly, whose parents Lilly and Dan (played by Bette Midler and Dennis “Is this Moron #1? Put Moron #2 on the phone” Farina) are seeing each other for the first time in 14 years at her wedding. Lilly is a fading film star who’s popular in the tabloids because her un-ph0togenic left side and her fluctuating weight are a paparazzo’s goldmine. Dan is a hack novelist. They’ve both re-married in the interim, Lilly to a self-help guru [played by the guy from Sledge Hammer!! (And yes, that double exclamation point with the italics change brings me joy!)] and Dan to a woman who is given little characterization beyond “Ice Queen.”
Lilly and Dan make it through the ceremony and a solid two minutes of the reception keeping their aggression all passive, but it isn’t long before they bust out in a screaming fight that is actually quite hilarious (“You were faithful like a Kennedy was faithful!” “I turned down a Beatle for you!”) Molly kicks them outside to cool off, and given the title of the film it really isn’t a surprise when “cooling off” is accomplished by humping:
Much like Ron and Tammy Swanson, once they’ve knocked pelvises again Lilly and Dan are 100% googedy in love despite more than a decade of rage and resentment. They run off together. Molly’s step parents and new husband demand she fix this mess she allegedly caused by having the gall to throw a wedding and invite both her parents. [Her husband cares because it threatens his “family values” platform for his congressional campaign, which I think is meant to the be the first sign that he’s a no goodnik, which is just so adorably Hollywood, and I say that as a staunch Democrat.]
Molly teams up with her wedding photographer/mother-stalking paparazzo Joey Donna, who I instantly recognized as Fabrizio from Titanic becuase I was thirteen in 1997 (lest you be misled by my mid-eighties references from earlier in this post). Because Lilly’s bad left side is Joey’s bread and butter, he knows how to find her.
Slapstick ensues. Molly and Joey are locked into a hotel room together. You know what that means in a romantic comedy, right? So Molly’s marriage lasts about as long as most of the tv shows with Paula Marshall (ZING!). Don’t worry, the groom slept with her stepmother at some point in the movie just so we don’t feel sorry for him.
This is usually the part of the review where I start complaining about how selfish and horrible all these people are, but you know what? This time they’re all off the hook. For some reason I genuinely enjoyed this movie and didn’t get too caught up in concerns like “what kind of mother sees her daughter macking on a dude who is not her spouse 24 hours after the wedding and gets a kick out the intrigue without worrying about anyone’s feelings?!” Maybe I was less upset because even though the marriage ends up annulled, at least the wedding still happens in this one? Maybe I was just in a really good mood, the kind of good mood that lets me look on the bright side of my parents dying when I was 21? Or maybe That Old Feeling is just a surprisingly charming movie.