Also, scenes are constructed with story beats to follow, but missing emotional beats for each character. In other words, things happen in a scene, but these things do not affect the characters emotional arc. Most scenes are long single takes with a camera mounted in a single location, and everyone acts in front of it. These long takes feel long with Bella putting on make-up, doing chores around the house, conversation from start to finish with little to no editing.
This is what causes the film and story to drag and feel longer than it needs to be. I’m sure this was done to bring out some authenticity and realism in individual characters, but like an improv sketch, it looks like actors are still trying to figure out their characters, while on stage. Fortunately, the only one who really feels like she understands her character is the lead Yvelisse Cedrez.
“…Yvelisse Cedrez is fantastic and charismatic. She is the lead of the film and carries our interest…”
The other element missing in the film is character arcs. There needs to be a sense that Bella grows or changes in some way by the end of the film. What happens is Bella is a strong woman at the start, who’s learned from her past. The people around her still thinks she’s a screw-up and spilling wine on her dress only validates their false impressions of her. The story plays out as Bella proving to herself that she is not the screw-up everything thinks she is. It’s a strong woman having her strength challenge and walking out just as strong. There’s an arc in there that is not strong enough to sustain a ninety-minute film.
Admittedly, I’m being incredibly harsh on Hot Mess in a Wedding Dress, and it pains me to do it. Mostly because I see the potential in what this film could have been and hopefully what futures film from Stefanie Davis could be. I like the basic idea and plot of the film about Bella, who finally finds her true love and her past threatens to take it away from her. That’s a good story, and putting Bella through the emotional wringer and amping up the stakes (her future) are great storytelling moments. Also, as Bella, Yvelisse Cedrez is fantastic and charismatic. She is the lead of the film and carries our interest, considering she’s in every second. I’d love to see what she could do with the challenges her character could face.
While I would pass on Hot Mess in a Wedding Dress, I would like to see what writer/director Davis has coming next
"…proving to herself that she is not the screw-up everything thinks she is."