This Rom-Com Reboot Is So Bad It’s Good

Welcome to “What’s Good,” a weekly column where we break down what’s soothing, distracting, or just plain good in the streaming world.
Photo: Courtesy of Bell Media.
What’s Good? Four Weddings and a Funeral on Crave
Who It’s Good For: You’d think this miniseries, which is a reimagining of the 1994 rom-com of the same name, would be for fans of the original, but if you’re a die-hard lover of the OG installment, this reboot may let you down. Aside from the name, an Andie MacDowell cameo, and some not-so-subtle easter eggs, this Four Weddings and a Funeral bears little resemblance to its predecessor. However, if you love rom-coms, with all of their tropes and predictability, this show delivers on schmaltz, grand romantic gestures, kisses in the rain, and impossibly beautiful people falling in love. It’s no surprise then, that it came from the mind of Mindy Kaling. If you liked The Mindy Project, lower your expectations, turn off your brain, and buckle in for a (mostly) pleasantly entertaining ride!
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How Good Is It? Once again, in this column, I’ve decided to play fast and loose with the definition of “good." If you’re looking for a prestige TV show with sharp dialogue, smart plotlines, and characters deeper than a puddle on a London street, this ain’t it. BUT, if you’re looking for a light escape, a salve in these trying times, a balm for the horrific news cycle, and a reprieve from real life in the form of unrealistic romantic misadventures with actual leads of colour (what a concept!) set in London, this is it.
Four Weddings And A Funeral stars Nathalie Emmanuel (who deserved to headline a series after Game of Thrones did her dirty — Dracarys!) as sweet and naive speechwriter Maya. Joining her are Rebecca Rittenhouse (who you will recognize from The Mindy Project) as spunky interior designer Ainsley (despite her character having zero redeeming qualities, she plays her with charm);  John Reynolds (an adorable lanky dork, also seen on Search Party) as hapless Latin teacher Duffy; and Brandon Mychal Smith (he played Little Richard in Get On Up, and is extremely attractive) as clueless and cocky banker Craig. This ensemble cast makes up our group of friends who navigate two years of highs and lows, heartbreak and loss, love and life. 
Maya, Ainsley, Duffy, and Craig are American best friends from college who relocate to the UK. It gets complicated when Maya has a meet-cute with Kash (Nikesh Patel, a dimpled, perfect-faced king) before discovering he’s her best friend Ainsley’s fiancé. How very The Wedding Planner of them. Ainsley's other BFF Gemma, played by Zoe Boyle (who looks like she’s straight out of Downton Abbey because she is), rounds out the ensemble and gets the best arc of the season.
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That may sounds like a lot of people to keep track of, and it is, but the actors deliver heartfelt performances that force you to care about every single character, even the guest stars like Kash’s childhood friend Basheer (a hysterical Guz Khan) and Ainsley’s assistant Tony 2 (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett who steals every scene he’s in). 
Over the course of its 10 episodes, Four Weddings and a Funeral did something incredible: It made me fall in love with it. This show, which streamed on Hulu in the U.S. last year and got lukewarm (at best) reviews, starts off very badly. Like, the British-guys-going-to-America plot of Love Actually bad. I almost turned it off. But then, like in a rom-com when the protagonists’ mutual hate inevitably evolves into love, I stopped denying my attraction and let myself get sucked into its orbit. I don’t know why I tried to pretend I was going to do anything but binge the entire miniseries in two days. At its best, it’s an emotional rumination on thirty-something anxiety and friendship. At its worst, it’s laughably bad, but at least you’re laughing. By episode four, the funeral episode, Four Weddings had me sobbing and ready to stand outside of a window with a boombox over my head (look out for many nods to other classic rom-coms in this show) to declare my love. 
Sure, it’s not perfect. My biggest gripes: While there is a Black woman leading the series, she’s predictable light-skinned, and the other women of colour in the series are relegated to one-note glorified cameos. I also really dislike how they cis-straight-washed the main cast (the OG included two gay men and the lead’s deaf brother) and turned the sole queer couple’s subplot into a redemption arc for a bigoted old white dude in favour of Brexit. Sigh. Plus, as cute as Duffy, Craig, and Kash are, none of them hold a candle to the original’s Charlie (played by legendary leading man Hugh Grant).
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Aside from all of that, in my current despair over the state of the world, all I wanted was some goddamn romance — and if nothing else, this show delivers that. Kash and Maya’s storyline also made me smile real big multiple times, not just because they’re both so hot, but because watching a Black woman and Brown man fall in love on TV is still so rare — too rare.
As the credits rolled on episode 10, I was ready to pull out my giant white cue cards and write a note in big black marker to this dumb show that gave me a much-needed escape: TO ME, YOU ARE PERFECT.
Things that are also good:
• The Netflix documentary The Remix: Hip Hop x Fashion, which tells the story of how hip-hop style went global, featuring Dapper Dan and Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss
• Haven’t been getting much of it lately so since I need the reminder: Sleep is good
• Netflix’s most underrated teen show, Trinkets, which is back for its second and final season
• The WNBA players who have been at the forefront of using their platforms to protest police violence and anti-Black racism
Defunding the police

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