'A Very Sordid Wedding': Film Review
Del Shores' sequel to his 2000 hit 'Sordid Lives' checks in on the wacky, Southern Baptist denizens of Winters, Texas.
Diehard fans will most appreciate Del Shores’ belated sequel to Sordid Lives, his 2000 indie hit comedy about the entwined lives of numerous colorful characters, several of them gay, in the Bible Belt town of Winters, Texas. Featuring many of the original castmembers as well as newcomers in several key roles, this installment delivers much of the same brand of raucous, gay-themed humor that propelled its predecessor to surprising success. It’s also following in the footsteps of the first film, which enjoyed a run of nearly two years in a Palm Springs theater; in the same location, A Very Sordid Wedding grossed an impressive $40,000 in its opening weekend.
Newcomers may have a hard time keeping up with the abundance of characters and subplots on display in this overstuffed mélange featuring an awkward mixture of broad, campy humor and earnest sentiment. Among the familiar figures are Latrelle (Bonnie Bedelia), now mellowed and accepting of her gay son Ty (Kirk Geiger), who is on a mission to get married in every U.S. state to his husband, who happens to be black. “These people are not going to know whether to be racist or homophobic,” one character observes upon meeting the couple.
Then there’s Sissy (Dale Dickey), whose determination to quit smoking in the first film has been replaced by an obsessive reading of the Bible; Latrelle’s sister LaVonda (Ann Walker), who reluctantly tends to the infirm; her best friend Noleta (Caroline Rhea), who enjoys a torrid fling with a hospital patient she meets while visiting her irascible mother; and Brother Boy (Leslie Jordan), the aging drag queen who’s recently added Dolly Parton to his repertoire and who, through circumstances too convoluted to recount, winds up on the road with a hunky young man who turns out to be a serial killer dubbed the “Hitchhiker Murderer.”
Meanwhile, the town’s hot but homophobic new pastor (Levi Kreis) becomes intent on hosting an “Anti-Equality” rally to prevent the same-sex marriages which he blames on “five liberal justices and an ungodly, Muslim president.” As one of his church members puts it, “God loves gays but hates perverts."
A little of the film’s brand of humor goes a long way, and those not tuned into the particular wavelength of writer/director Shores — whose previous effort, 2013’s Southern Baptist Sissies, was very much cut from the same cloth — are unlikely to join the flock at this point. But A Very Sordid Wedding offers some undeniably entertaining moments, and its talented ensemble, clearly encouraged to pull out all the stops, delivers their comic shtick with admirable gusto. It’s also impossible to entirely resist a film featuring Whoopi Goldberg as a priest officiating a gay wedding while clad in a rainbow-hued robe.
Production company: Beard Collins Shores Productions
Cast: Bonnie Bedelia, Leslie Jordan, Caroline Rhea, Dale Dickey, Kirk Geiger, Levi Kreis, Katherine Bailess, Alec Mapa, Alek Paunovic, Carole Cooke, Michel MacRae
Director-screenwriter: Del Shores
Producers: Del Shores, Emerson Collins
Executive producers: Louise H. Beard, Phyllis Laing, Jeff Beesley, Camelot Theatres, Rozene & Rick Supple
Director of photography: Paul Suderman
Production designer: Chad Gisbrecht
Editor: Donna Matthewson
Costume designer: Sandy Soke
Composer: Joe Patrick Ward