Sione’s Wedding

It’s probably to be expected if your knowledge of New Zealand film does not extend beyond The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And although Sione’s Wedding is not quite the seminal film that will change that view and put New Zealand cinema on the map, it nonetheless churns out reliable gags and laugh-worthy jokes. The only thing lacking, is that its subject matter, Samoan culture, is one too parochial for viewers outside New Zealand to relate to.Set in Auckland, New Zealand, four Samoan bachelors in their 30s, Albert (Oscar Kightly), Sefa (Shimpal Lelisi), Stanley (Iaheto Ah Hi, all three in their big screen debut) and Michael (Robbie Maggasiva, Perfect Creature) are banned from their friend Sione’s wedding because of their rowdy shenanigans. A big blow to the lads, the minister (Nathaniel Lees, The Matrix Revolutions) relents on the condition that they find serious girlfriends—something which these avowed bachelors seem incapable of doing.The film is, at times, contrived and wholly predictable. It does not take a genius to figure out where the film is heading with plot twists not being in this film’s vocabulary. Nor is it the innovative cinematography, where sequences of still shots are used, which is going to blow your mind away. Despite all of this however, the film is enjoyable in its own way. The script serves up witty and intelligent jokes with an insightful and irreverent look at racial stereotypes. Furthermore, these jokes are delivered by a cast with competent flair, especially Ah Hi, whose portrayal of Stanley, a 30-odd nine-to-five office guy, who lives with his mum, is genuine and someone which we can relate to.All this adds up to a film which is definitely worth the ticket price. It is just a pity that the main point to this film in poking fun at ideas of race, deals with stereotypes particular only to New Zealand, making some of the film incomprehensible to local viewers.