At the beginning of the Australian romantic comedy Top End Wedding, affable Ned (Gwilym Lee) proposes to his girlfriend, Lauren (Miranda Tapsell). Lauren, of course, says yes. She also just became a partner at her firm. As such, she is only able to get ten days off from work for the wedding. That’s correct, Ned and Lauren have to plan and have a wedding in ten days.
But, Lauren, who is an Aboriginal, wants to have the wedding in her hometown. Ned agrees, but once they get there, they discover that her mom Daffy (Ursula Yovich) has left her dad with just a post-it note explaining that she can’t handle it anymore. So now, Lauren and Ned need to plan their wedding while undertaking a road trip to find Daffy… and all in only ten days.
“…Lauren and Ned need to plan their wedding while undertaking a road trip to find Daffy… and all in only ten days.”
Top End Wedding has a massive, glaring problem that, for all the good elements of the movie, of which there are plenty, it does not work overall. The issue has a name; well two really- Lauren and Daffy. See, these two characters, as written by Tapsell herself, with Joshua Tyler, are so self-absorbed and rotten that it is almost impossible to care about either one of them. Daffy’s eventual revelations as to why she left Lauren’s father, Trevor (Huw Higginson), is purely ridiculous. More accurately, that she is not mature enough to sit down with her husband of decades and explain her rationale means any weight finding her is intended to have dissolves in an instant.
Lauren is more complicated but is still very selfish. There are several instances where Ned attempts to tell Lauren that he quit his job. But, she constantly interrupts him before he can finish. Then she gets all angry that he never told her. But, that at least is more miscommunication than actual arrogant behavior. How could anyone expect her to know that is what Ned was going to say? Fair point.
What is less, excusable is how she acts at just about any other time. See, Ned has never met Lauren’s family before. She hardly talks about her hometown and has never expressed any interest in going there, much less getting married there. Then, she insists on finding her mom, despite all signs pointing to the two of them not being very close. Basically, it is an uphill battle for the audience to root for Lauren.