Full disclosure, I have never been to a Destination Wedding. I honestly don’t get them. I’m not a person whose happy place is the beach, so I wouldn’t ever choose this for me, even with the magically expanding budget that appears to have been spent in this movie. I also think making people make all those travel plans is kind of hard for the guests…it was hard enough to convince my mom that a Friday evening wedding wasn’t going to be too much of an inconvenience. But I digress. We’re here to talk about the Hallmark version of Destination Wedding, staring the girl from SpyKids (Alexa PenaVega, or APV) and a whole bunch of people you’ve never heard of. I’m glad that a child actor has found a niche, and she’s not horrible, so good for her. I will also say that I thought SpyKids was dumb.
Movie opens with a proposal, complete with candles, flowers, and a Hallmark ring box – apparently they make engagement rings now. Hallmark Engagement Rings! That is the biggest “duh” license I’ve ever heard of, I’m amazed it has taken this long. Anyway, the proposal isn’t for our main character, Ellie, they are for her sister, Mandy, who just got engaged to Jason. Everyone is happy. Cut to a year later, and it’s a week before Mandy’s wedding in Acapulco.
Ellie is an interior designer in LA. She’s got a weaselly-faced boyfriend named Alec, who is a contractor, and who is glad that Ellie doesn’t need “all the fancy stuff” of a proposal, or flowers, or a supportive boyfriend. Hands up if we hate Alec already? Ellie also enables her little sister Mandy incredibly, as they have no mom, and Ellie has always fixed all of Mandy’s problems. But one problem that is cropping up for Ellie? The best man at this wedding is her ex, Greg, who left her in LA to take a job in Atlanta, without even discussing it with her! Oh, and Alec is super insecure that Greg will be at this wedding, but not insecure enough to, you know, actually attend it.
Family is very important to Ellie – she’s got a loving Dad, and a feisty Grandma Goldie, along with her very entitled sister. Ellie is controlling and very Type-A – she’s got lists of lists, people. But she parrots back what Alec says, that she doesn’t “need a piece of paper to prove that she’s in love with Alec” and the fact that he thinks marriage is just a piece of paper just points out that he sucks.
Apparently everyone is going to Mexico a week early before the wedding, but when the day of the flight arrives, Mandy and Jason are unable to make the flight! So Ellie has to improvise and just say that they’re delayed, and it’ll be ok. And Greg, the best man, is roped into this web of lies for the whole week, and voila, we have the plot of this movie. Will Greg and Ellie rekindle their romance as they strive to save Mandy and Jason’s? You tell me.
Grandma Goldie and Dad love Greg and do not like Alec, and there is good-natured teasing on Dad’s side, as apparently LA born Greg likes the Phillies. I don’t get a) why someone in LA wouldn’t just root for a California team, as his backstory says nothing of growing up in Philadelphia, but b) as someone who was spit on in Philadelphia by sports fans, I’m ok with characters not thinking too highly of that team.
They are at the resort and a few things – Mariachi in the lobby – is that a thing in Mexican resorts, or are they just laying on the local color too thickly? And then we add another piece of drama, because the wedding coordinator, Tara, who has worked for over a year on this wedding has just run off from her job with a guest, left no notes, and apparently did no work on the wedding. It is all in the hands of Javier, who is apparently the only other employee of the hotel. Best Man Greg and Maid of Honor Ellie now have to choose the food and the flowers while keeping all of the organized activities for the guests going – like beach BBQs, and golf, and whatever.
They taste all the food, and Greg argues that no one cares about the food at a wedding, so focus on the fun. That’s a good point – although if you watch Four Weddings, these brides care SO MUCH about the food. Anyway, They pick the Chicken and the Fish. No comment on the cake, it’s off-screen.
At one of their planned evening events, there is dancing. And since APV was on Dancing with the Stars, of COURSE they are going to make her dance. And OF COURSE she has to dance with Greg. And side note – do mariachi bands only know the Mexican Hat Dance? Or maybe just the ones in this movie only know that song?
In between all the festivities, Ellie and Greg dual-screen Face-Time with Mandy and Jason in an attempt to salvage their relationship, and as predicted, their old baggage comes out while trying to counsel others. Greg got a new job, and he left, and didn’t ask her to go with him. But he didn’t ask her to go with him because her job was in LA and he didn’t want to stand in her way. Which is noble, but it’s not like she’s a rocket scientist. She’s an interior designer, and they’ve got them all over the country. In fact, she’d have more fun in Atlanta, because the Mart is right there and she could shop wholesale to her heart’s content. But whatever. Character development.
Grandma Goldie is suspicious that the bride and groom aren’t there, and Ellie and Greg keep lying to maintain the status quo. In the meantime, Grandma Goldie keeps telling Ellie how much she likes Greg, and how she thinks Greg is the one. You’re playing it too heavily, Grandma Goldie. Luckily Ellie is called away to choose the floral centerpieces at the tables for the reception. Javier (still doing every job) gives them 2 options. This destination wedding place only has 2 options for flowers. That’s a dumb plot point, writer. No one would believe that. We get the heavy-handed YOU MUST COMPROMISE message, but I refuse to believe that you are forced to pick from only 2 options of flowers. In Mexico.
Finally, we get some movement from Mandy and Jason – and it’s to say that the wedding is off, and could Ellie tell all the guests. And Finally, we get some growth, because Ellie grows a pair and says no, I’m done being an enabler, and Mandy needs to put on her big girl pants and announce it herself. And then Ellie does the really grown up thing – she runs away from all the other guests at the hotel so she doesn’t have to lie anymore. And of course, Greg goes with her. Cue cute montage of Mexican shopping and eating, with another scene of dancing the Mexican hat dance.
Alec basically just exists now to push Ellie in the Greg direction – he’s being such a dick about the fact that Ellie has to spend time with Greg that if I were Ellie, I’d just do more of the hanging out just for spite. But I’m like that. Ellie just hangs up on him, but not before he demands a statement from her that she’d never see Greg again. Dude. Not cool.
Grandma Goldie fakes a heart attack to get the 4-1-1 from Ellie and Greg about what’s going on, and also to get some carnitas tacos delivered room service. She also tells Ellie that she needs to live her own life and that Mandy needs to woman up, and rightly points out that Mandy has not said one word of concern about the fact that she has a bunch of guests who paid to go to a wedding that is now not going to happen. But it seems like all the guests are having a good time, so maybe she doesn’t need to care so much? It’s a toss up.
Dad gets back involved. He’s going to do marriage counseling for Mandy and Jason, and he is also going to push Ellie in the Greg direction, but more subtly than Grandma Goldie. If your name is Goldie, I don’t think you do subtle.
Last straw with Alec comes when he comes right out and says that he doesn’t like Mandy. Ellie’s all “love me, love my family” and hangs up on him again. And spends a good 2 commercial breaks dodging his phone calls. Most of which is done in front of Greg. Keep that in mind.
Greg and Ellie have a moment on the beach, which is a MOMENT because of the guitar music in the background. He says that he would have proposed before he got his Atlanta job offer, and she knew, and would have said yes. But he didn’t because he didn’t want to stand in her way, which as we’ve discussed is a DUMB thing because honestly, if you just have a strong conversation about it all, compromises could have been made. Ugh, this movie makes me annoyed.
Poor Javier is now the Bingo caller, and Grandma Goldie is hating on the little kid who keeps beating her at the game.
Day before the wedding, they need to have the rehearsal. Dad is at Ellie’s door. He rings the doorbell at her suite, which is almost bigger than my house. Again I’d like to know HOW MUCH DID THIS WEDDING WEEK COST??????? But Ellie and Greg have to be stand-ins for Mandy and Jason, and practice the wedding, which Javier presides over, and takes a grand total of 2 minutes, so I really don’t know what they had to practice, other than standing on sand.
At the rehearsal dinner, Ellie and Greg are just about to announce that Mandy and Jason aren’t coming, when Ta Da! They show up! Love conquers. Yay. They can get married the next day.
Sister bonding – Mandy tells Ellie that she’s really grown while they sit in a hot tub. Good for Mandy. Love that she had personal growth. I hate this character. But she also says she was pleased that Ellie had so much time with Greg and hey, isn’t Greg texting you right now to come sit on the beach in the moonlight with him? You should go live your life, Ellie. So Ellie does.
Greg is still in love with Ellie.
Just as he goes in for the kiss, ALEC SHOWS UP! NOOOOOOOO! (Honestly, duh, but if you’re shipping this, then NOOOOOOOOOO!!!) Greg has the sad times and slinks away but not before he sees Alec go down on one knee in the sand. It’s not a Hallmark diamond, so we know he doesn’t care, and his proposal has all the finesse of a Mr. Collins – basically, “if you need the piece of paper, then we’ll get the piece of paper.” Sensibly, Ellie turns him down, tells him she’s not in love with him anymore, and then looks out on the beach for Greg, who is nowhere to be found.
So Greg is wallowing in the sad times but why? When he’s seen that she’s been ducking Alec’s calls for days, and any idiot can tell that she wasn’t pleased to see him show up on the beach? Does Greg think Ellie is such a flibbertygibbet that her head will be turned by a sucky-ass proposal and a non-branded diamond ring? That’s not valuing her mind, and her spirit, Greg. It’s all to string it out for another 10 minutes, but I’m not that invested in this anymore, so I’ll skip to the end.
Ellie fears that Greg has left, so runs around the resort in her bridesmaid dress, which is hideous. She finds him on the beach. She corrects his faulty impression that she’s engaged to Alec and they’re in love again and they have a wedding to get to and then it’s a fake-out, it’s not Mandy’s wedding, it’s Ellie and Greg’s wedding, and her dress this time is pretty and Javier is presiding and bam, we’re done.
I really didn’t give a crap about this movie, and I wanted to like it, because I like APV and I was interested to see stuff about destination weddings. This movie proved that APV is charming in these movies, and I made the right choice and had my wedding where I had it. Validation all around. Scenery was pretty, I would love a carnitas taco right about now, and I’m happy to be done talking about Destination Wedding. If you need me to talk some more, I’ll do it, you know, just so you don’t have to.