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“White Wedding,” Reviewed

“White Wedding,” Reviewed (photo)

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I learned several things about South Africa in “White Wedding,” an entertaining but forgettable comedy about two men and one woman roadtripping from Johannesburg to Cape Town, but the most interesting fact I discovered was that their films are just as susceptible to cliches as their American counterparts. The accents may change, but the stereotypes of roadtrip and wedding movies remain exactly the same: the traditional parents who clash with their forward-thinking children, the crotchety old relative with weird superstitions, the effeminate wedding planner, the bride who has to choose between love and security, the woman who misinterprets a man’s bad luck as a fear of commitment. Since “White Wedding”‘s ultimate lesson is one of universality, this choice is weirdly appropriate. We all want love. We all fear commitment. We all like reassuringly familiar narratives that juxtapose literal journeys of low-stakes danger with metaphorical journeys of personal discovery.

And when I say low stakes I mean really low stakes. This film is as suspenseful as a beer commercial. Gregarious Elvis (Kenneth Nkosi) has to get to Cape Town by Saturday to marry the lovely Ayanda (Zandile Msutwana), but he’s beset by one disaster after another: a missed bus, a flaky best man named Tumi (Rapulana Seiphemo), a broken car axle, a surly goat, even a stowaway named Rose (Jodie Whittaker) who tags along in order to catch a flight back home to England. Though the primary theme is marriage, a lot of the screenplay by Nkosi, Msutwana, and director Jann Turner is about broken relationships: Rose’s with a fiance who cheated on her, Tumi’s with a girl he cheated on, Ayanda’s with a man who left her for America but now wants her back. Of course, love has a way of conquering all in a movie like this, and “White Wedding” is less about its impossibility than its necessity, even in the face of insurmountable odds. That message will strike you as either reassuring or cloying depending on your own personal attitude, as will the absurd scenes involving racist Afrikaners who reverse beliefs they’ve held their entire lives after a couple of beers with Elvis and Tumi.

Then again, there is something innately likable about Nkosi and Seiphemo. The actors are long-time friends — they even took a road trip similar to the one portrayed in the film along with Turner some years ago — and their bickering, fraternal relationship is one of the few parts of “White Wedding” grounded in reality rather than fantasy. They, along with the absolutely beautiful scenery of South Africa, held my attention.

There’re worse ways to spend your time, and worse movies to spend your money on, than “White Wedding.” For a price substantially smaller than a plane ticket to South Africa, you’ll see many of the country’s sights and hear many of its languages, including Afrikaans, Tswana, and Zulu. And, of course, the language of film, which is universal.

“White Wedding” is now playing in New York and L.A.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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