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Originally published Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 3:01 PM

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'You May Not Kiss the Bride': Comedy lacks old Hollywood magic

A movie review of "You May Not Kiss the Bride," a failed attempt to revive Hollywood magic in a comedy about a timid fellow (David Annable) forced to marry a mobster's daughter (Katharine McPhee).

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie review 1.5 stars

'You May Not Kiss the Bride,' with David Annable, Katharine McPhee, Rob Schneider, Kathy Bates, Tia Carrere, Vinnie Jones, Mena Suvari, Stephen Tobolowsky. Written and directed by Rob Hedden. 98 minutes. Rated PG-13 for mild violence. Pacific Place.

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Surely, some Hollywood studio in the 1950s made a prototype of the sprightly if erratic comedy "You May Not Kiss the Bride."

If so, perhaps that movie starred Danny Kaye as "Bride's" fidgety protagonist, a pet photographer forced into marriage with a beautiful immigrant. Kim Novak could have played the latter, the sexy, green-card-seeking daughter of a Croatian gangster who threatens the hero if a) he doesn't cooperate and b) gets any actual romantic notions about his new wife.

Ernie Kovacs might have been cast as the swaggering kook who helps rescue the lady from kidnappers during her faux honeymoon.

More than likely that film would have been far better than writer-director Rob Hedden's more recent yet old-fashioned production of "Bride."

Hedden seeks but fails to bring gloss to his silly, semi- anarchic feature. He gets spirited support from actors Rob Schneider as the aforementioned kook, Kathy Bates as the bawdy mother of timid hero Bryan (David Annable), Tia Carrere as a kind waitress, Vinnie Jones as a duplicitous thug, Mena Suvari as a lusty dingbat and Stephen Tobolowsky in a briefly glimpsed role.

Katharine McPhee, a star of TV's "Smash," is fine as the mobster's strong-willed daughter who falls for the story's patsy. But Annable ("Brothers & Sisters") is the weak link, a handsome, skilled actor nevertheless miscast in a part requiring a more dynamic comic presence. (Get me a young Kevin Kline.)

Despite offering equally exotic Balkan mobsters and Tahitian dancers, Hedden never gets "Bride" to full boil. In fact, he bizarrely brings narrative momentum to a crawl, at a crucial moment, to highlight Schneider and Suvari in unfunny high jinks. "Bride" has classic Hollywood leanings but little clue how to live up to them.

Tom Keogh:

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