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By Phil Hall | February 25, 2012

Nonfiction filmmaker Kate Schermerhorn presents a wonderful idea for a film: trying to understand why people want to get married, especially when more than half of all marriages end in divorce. Schermerhorn brings in a slew of experts (matchmakers, psychiatrists, a divorce lawyer, even Elvis imitators who perform in a Las Vegas chapel) to detail the appeal of marriage.

She also gathers input from long-time married couples that explain their secrets in staying together – including a lesbian couple and two Indians who were joined via an arranged marriage 10 years earlier – and she culls a witty collection of old-time clips that offer yesteryear’s cartoonish definition of wedded bliss.

Alas, the film is betrayed by the director’s insistence on being the center of attention. A divorced single mother when production began, she married for the second time as the film progressed – but her marriage was rocky, and the arrival of a daughter failed to provide much-needed stability and the union ultimately ended in divorce.

As a result, this documentary feels like two movies that got hopelessly tangled: an intriguing overview of contemporary challenges for married couples laced with a solipsistic home movie where Schermerhorn hams it up for the camera with her kids and bickers with her soon-to-be ex-husband. The result is disjointed and very disappointing.

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  1. Robert Ramirez says:

    I had heard about this documentary and it sounded like a good idea, but from your review it sounds like it missed the mark. Thanks for posting this review!

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