SING NOW
OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE
a.k.a.
THE WEDDING WEEKEND
a.k.a.
SHUT UP AND SING
© 2007 by C.E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.

Fine performers headline this so-so reunion
movie that owes more than a passing debt to
John Sayles'
THE RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS
SEVEN
(1980) and to some extent Lawrence
Kasdan's 1981 hit
THE BIG CHILL.

One senses there is something of an
autobiographical element in Bruce Leddy's
screenplay (which the press notes confirm).
Leddy attended Williams College and was a
member of the
a capella group the "Williams
Octet." While living on the East Coast, he also
sang with an alumni group, "The Lemmings."
After relocating to Los Angeles, Leddy has spent
several years as director and supervising
producer of the late-night sketch comedy series
MADtv, and some of that show's zany humor
can be found in his screenplay.

The film opens in 1991 with a college
a capella
group performing a concert which the narrator
David (David Harbour) recalls as one of the high
points of his life. Flash forward some 15 years
and David is now facing middle age with a
vague sense of dissatisfaction. He seems to
have a solid marriage with Dana (Rosemary
DeWitt), the only sticking point is her desire for
a family.

The audience is then introduced to the other
members of the group in rapid succession.
Ted (Alexander Chaplin) is a button-downed
banker who discovers he's being downsized.
Spooner (Chris Bowers) is a wealthy eccentric
first seen walking the streets in a monk's robe.
Will (Samrat Chakrabarti) is an aspiring actor
working as a gofer in a recording studio. Richard
(Reg Rogers) is a neurotic lawyer who has just
been divorced. Greg (Mark Feuerstein) has just
returned from Japan with the news he is getting
married. Lastly, there's Steven (David Alan
Basche), a semi-successful television producer
who harbors a grudge against Greg, but agrees
to attend his wedding so he can reunite with his
old buddies.

The wedding is to occur in the Hamptons, and it
happens that Spooner's family owns a large
house there and he agrees to host the group.
Assorted wives and girlfriends as well as a
Swedish nanny arrive and the stage is set for a
series of mediations on life, death, marriage,
sex and employment. There are some incidents,
like an off screen barroom brawl, a misadventure
with a prostitute that leads to jail (and one of
the least convincing scenes in the film) and the
ultimate happy ending.

The cast veers from overly theatrical (Rogers) to
amusing (Molly Shannon as Ted's wife Shannon,
a woman who speaks her mind without thinking
about the consequences) to spot on (Harbour,
DeWitt, Basche, and several others).

The film's tone also traverses a wide range from
sentimental to silly. Some of the jokes and
conversations border on the sophomoric, but I
really think that is the point: when these men
reunite they revert to their twentysomething
selves complete with juvenile actions and
conversation.

SING NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE
(which originally was called SHUT UP AND
SING
, a more appropriate title given the shtick
of the guys, but then came that
documentary
about the Dixie Chicks) is a pleasant enough
film. There is some humor and humanity in the
story. While it might not stack up against the
films that served as its template, it's perhaps
worth a look.


Rating:                C
MPAA Rating:        None
Running time:        94 mins.


Viewed at Magno Review Two
L to R: Samrat Chakrabarti as Will, Chris Bowers as
Spooner, Alexander Chaplin as Ted, David Harbour as
David, David Alan Basche as Steven and Reg Rogers as
Richard in
SING NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE
a.k.a THE WEDDING WEEKEND
Photo Credit: Robert Burge/20th Century Photographs
© 2006 Shut Up and Sing Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.