Getting married is probably the most important decision a person makes in his/her lifetime. So much so, that it’s something we only do three or four times in our lifetime. In Stefanie Davis’ Hot Mess in a Wedding Dress, bride-to-be Bella (Yvelisse Cedrez) is about to marry her love, Victor (Sean Michael Gloria), despite the fact that she’s known to be a flight risk in the past.
Bella is one of those individuals who has disappointed her loved ones in the past, as deep anxiety is her greatest obstacle to making those big life decisions. With the wedding only days away, those closest to her are always checking in to ensure everything is going along great, and she’s not going to do something stupid to stop this wedding.
The story really begins when Victor goes off with his buddies for his bachelor party weekend. Bella is left alone and takes advantage of the solitude to write her vows. Alone with her thoughts, Bella’s anxiety starts to kick in. Her mother convinces her to wear her wedding dress to get comfortable with it. Bella does just that, and when her friends come over for a little party…oops, she spills red wine all over it, and thus, the manic downward spiral begins. The white wedding dress is ruined and life is now over.
“…Bella is about to marry her love…despite the fact that she’s known to be a flight risk…”
Bella is now forced to deal with the fact that she’s a screw-up, and what will she do to fix the problem before her inner demons and her party-girl past get the best of her. In some way, I wish Bella’s backstory was what the movie was about. What I mean is, Hot Mess In A Wedding Dress is about Bella getting married after she more or less figured out her shit. The whole spilling the wine plotline is a story of a woman being tempted to return to her former life and is she strong enough to overcome the temptations. Her back story is much more interesting than her current story, and so the dramatic stakes are just not high enough for a feature film.
The other problem with Hot Mess in a Wedding Dress is the acting—not necessarily the quality of acting but the tone the acting sets from start to finish. It feels superficial and lacks emotional depth. I may be wrong, but the film feels heavily improvised. If I’m right about the improvisation, the problem is the actors are portraying the characters they created with quirks and quick jokes, but by the nature of improv, no one is really thinking about the emotional depth of the characters, which adds an extra dimension to the characters and pulls us in emotionally.