Four Weddings and a Funeral, airing on Hulu July 31, is a frothy addition to the genre of Friend Group TV – shows that follow the intersecting lives of a friend group with history. Which is fitting, because the show has built-in history for audiences already familiar with the story.
To risk patronizing the '90s rom-com fanatics in the room, Richard Curtis' Four Weddings and a Funeral takes place at — wait for it — four weddings and a funeral. Hugh Grants' Charles is on the event circuit, toasting one friend after another. At one wedding, he falls for Carrie (MacDowell), an alluring American. More than a remake or a spin-off of Curtis' Four Weddings, the Hulu show is a "reworking" of the movie's premise for 21st century 30-somethings.
Hulu's version retains parts of the original. For one, both begin with the main character saying a string of f-bombs. Like the movie, Hulu's show follows a group of friends in their 30s making big decisions about their romantic lives (and their futures, in turn). It also involves four weddings, a funeral, and lots of pining.
Elements of Charles' character are found in both Maya (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Kash (Nikesh Patel). Maya is an American political speech writer who flies to London to meet friends, and immediately runs into Kash at the airport, who's dating her best friend. Like Charles, Kash leaves his fiancée at the altar to chase an American girl. (There's no Carrie in this version, though Andie MacDowell does have a cameo playing a different character.)
That's where the similarities end. Unlike the movie, which is so utterly British, Hulu's Four Weddings focuses on American college friends — Maya, Duffy (John Reynolds), Ainsley (Rebecca Rittenhouse), Craig (Brandon Mychal Smith) — living in London. Though allegedly, Emmanuel wanted to sneak in a reference to the movie's famous rain scene and was turned down.
Hulu's Four Weddings is much more inclusive than the movie, which featured a cast of all-white, upper-middle-class friends. For example, Kash is Pakistani-British, and considers pursuing an arranged marriage at one point. The process of dating within the Muslim religion gets an important rom-com treatment of its own.
But if you're looking for the endearing awkwardness of the original Four Weddings, you won't find it in the Hulu show. The show is a polished anthology rom-com, more in the vein of Valentine's Day or Love Actually than a quintessential rom-com. Since there are ten episodes, everyone gets a love story.