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Movie Review: ‘Love, Wedding, Marriage’

I fear no amount of therapy could cure what ails “Love, Wedding, Marriage.” The romantic comedy, which stars Mandy Moore as a couples counselor taking desperate measures to keep her parents’ marriage together and her brand-new one from falling apart, is an emotional wreck of major proportions.

While movies have long had good fun at the expense of the therapy trade — watching Richard Dreyfuss’ pompous Dr. Marvin deconstruct in “What About Bob?” remains priceless 20 years after the fact — Moore’s Ava is a complete head case. Scattered, whiney, with a tendency toward tantrums and pouting, you wish someone would hand her a bottle of Zoloft and be done with it.

Perhaps Dermot Mulroney, who usually plays such nice guys on screen, just couldn’t shake his soft side when he slipped into the director’s chair for the first time. There’s a tentativeness that can be felt in nearly every frame when a lot of tough love was needed. He is not helped by a silly script from Anouska Chydzik Bryson and Caprice Crane, a first feature film for both as well.

Ava’s unfortunate hubby is Charlie, with Kellan Lutz doing what he can as an increasingly exasperated new spouse. He has my sympathy. Jane Seymour and James Brolin as Ava’s parents, ready to throw in the towel on the eve of their 30th anniversary, just flounder. Seymour turns stridently over-the-top, Brolin nearly disappears into the cracks.

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When Ava’s not trying to save their marriage, she’s obsessing over the surprise anniversary party their split might derail. Meanwhile things are getting rocky at home with Charlie. By the time she gets into a tug-of-war over a patient file with her sister/receptionist (“Gossip Girl’s” Jessica Szohr) and tumbles into a client, you’re long past caring about the relationships. You’ll just want out.

betsy.sharkey@latimes.com


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