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The 'Four Weddings And A Funeral' Reboot Is A New Story With The Same Old Tropes

The miniseries is sweet, but how does it compare to the original film and all the other classic rom-coms they often reference?

Opening with “I Feel It I My Fingers,” just like the beginning of Love Actually, followed by a string of F-bombs, just like the beginning of the original 1994 film, within the first minute of the pilot episode, the Four Weddings and a Funeral miniseries already references two films from the rom-com canon, and in no way stops there.


Unlike the movie, which centered on the relationship between Charles (Hugh Grant) and Carrie (Andie MacDowell), the show follows a group of four thirty-something American friends from college navigating their love lives in modern-day London.


Having been championing for more opportunities for people of color in Hollywood, co-creator Mindy Kaling presents a cast with more representation. Game of ThronesNathalie Emmanuel takes on the lead role as Maya, who remained in New York working for Ted, a married senatorial candidate whom she is secretly is having an affair with (a la Olivia Pope in Scandal). When Maya loses her baggage upon arriving in London for her best friend, Ainsley’s (Rebecca Rittenhouse) birthday, a cute British-Pakistani (Nikesh Patel) helps her search for her luggage, during which she shows him a clip from Mamma Mia!, insisting its Meryl Streep’s best work, and he confesses he’s an investment banker who secretly wishes he was an actor; naturally, sparks fly. 


Nikesh Patel and Nathalie Emmanuel as Kash and Maya | Hulu


But, as it turns out, the man she met at the airport, whom she described to Ainsley as a “caramel Ryan Gosling,” is actually her best friend’s boyfriend who works with their friend, Craig (Brandon Mychal Smith). Meanwhile, Duffy (John Reynolds), still pining over Maya since college, finally plans on making his move.



John Reynolds as Duffy | Hulu



The first episode, “Kash with a K” is almost too packed with pop culture references. Ainsley’s birthday is no less, a romcom-themed party made for the Instagram age, with a roomful of guests dressed as recognizable characters from Love and Basketball, The Princess Bride, Clueless, Crazy Rich Asians, Ella Enchanted, Coming to America, and more—with Duffy even channeling John Cusack in Say Anything… in an attempt to confess his love. But while dressed like characters from the past, the show makes it clear it is very much set in the modern age. “Was ‘#AinsleysTotallyAwesome30thRomComBirthdayBash’ so hard to add to your photos?”




Rebecca Rittenhouse as Ainsley | Hulu


One year later, Ainsley and Kash are engaged, which brings Maya—shocked by an unsurprising discovery about now senator Ted—back to London, single, and is met with Ainsley holding cue cards, just like in the famous Love Actually scene. Competing with Maya as Ainsley’s best friend (think Bridesmaids), Gemma (Zoe Boyle of Downton Abbey) steals the show with a surprise performance of “For Once In My Life” during the ceremony—yet another reference to Love Actually, in which a biracial couple was treated to a surprise musical number of “All You Need is Love” at the church. Maya, already burdened with a tough act to follow, forgets her speech, and improvises by quoting “Gangster’s Paradise,” RuPaul, and yup, “All You Need is Love.”




One year later, Ainsley and Kash are engaged, which brings Maya—shocked by an unsurprising discovery about now senator Ted—back to London, single, and is met with Ainsley holding cue cards, just like in the famous Love Actually scene. Competing with Maya as Ainsley’s best friend (think Bridesmaids), Gemma (Zoe Boyle of Downton Abbey) steals the show with a surprise performance of “For Once In My Life” during the ceremony—yet another reference to Love Actually, in which a biracial couple was treated to a surprise musical number of “All You Need is Love” at the church. Maya, already burdened with a tough act to follow, forgets her speech, and improvises by quoting “Gangster’s Paradise,” Ru Paul, and yup, “All You Need is Love.” 


The TV adaptation has been met with much criticism from romcom fans, but did it ever stand the chance of living up to the 1994 film? Sure, the show doesn’t quite have that same spark that made for the classic rom-coms its inspired by, but could it be that the novelty was lost to a bygone era? This edition of Four Weddings and a Funeral may not make it into the romcom canon, but it is still a fun watch for those craving a dose of saccharin in modern TV.



The first four episodes of Four Weddings and a Funeral are currently available to stream on Hulu, with new episodes on Wednesdays.


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