There’s an early scene in Jenny’s Wedding in which Jenny (Katherine Heigl) is talking to her roommate, Kitty (Alexis Biedel) about how difficult it is to spend time with her family. They all want to know when Jenny is going to get married. After all, her younger sister, Anne (Grace Gummer), is married. Jenny tells Kitty that she does want to get married and start a family and she wants to do it soon.
Kitty replies with something like: “I guess you’re going to have to tell them about us.”
And WOW! THAT WOULD BE SUCH A MIND-BLOWING MOMENT … if not for the fact that it’s 2015. Jenny’s Wedding seems to take place in an alternative universe where Glee was never a hit TV show, thousands of people never changed their Facebook avatar to a rainbow flag, Milk was never a box office hit, nobody’s ever watched a program on Bravo or seen that Ikea commercial, and the majority of Americans continue to believe that gays are some exotic group of people who exclusively live in New York, San Francisco, and Oak Lawn. Maybe in 2002, Jenny’s Wedding‘s approach to LGBT issues would have felt brave and groundbreaking but in 2015, it just feels heavy-handed and trite.
“Nothing will ever be the same again!” Jenny’s mom (Linda Emond) wails when Jenny comes out of the closet.
“I mean, we’re ordinary people…” Jenny’s dad (Tom Wilkinson) laments when Jenny tells him that she’s a lesbian and she’s going to marry Kitty.
“They must’ve done something wrong,” one of the neighbors is overhead gossiping after it becomes common knowledge that Jenny is getting married to a *GASP* woman.
Especially when compared to the many truly groundbreaking, touching, and thought-provoking LGBT-films that have been released over the past few years, Jenny’s Wedding is heavy-handed and utterly lacking in either nuance or insight. Watching it, I wondered who could be responsible for making such an old-fashioned film that seemed to be so totally out-of-touch with the modern world. Then I checked with Wikipedia and discovered that the film’s director is 72 years old and straight and that explained a lot.
I think the idea was for the viewers to be stunned that Katherine Heigl was playing a lesbian and I guess the viewers are all supposed to think, “If Katherine Heigl can be a lesbian, then anyone can be a lesbian!” And I guess that could have happened in 2002, though it still seems to be based on a massive misreading of the popularity of a performer who has, several times, literally been described as being “box office poison.” But this is 2015 and anyone who still believes that a character played by Katherine Heigl could never be a lesbian probably is not going to be watching a movie about a lesbian wedding.
As well, it doesn’t help that Katherine Heigl gives a performance that is brittle even by the standards of Katherine Heigl. Watching Jenny’s Wedding, I couldn’t help but feel that Kitty could do so much better.