The honor of your presence is requested at this confection of a movie set in houses of worship around the British Isles. Grant, a man who keeps his heart under house arrest, would rather fight than get hitched. That is until, in the course of his irresponsibilities as a best man (he arrives late and forgets the rings), he meets a beautiful, witty and elusive American magazine editor (MacDowell). They spend a blissful night together, then she returns to America—for a while. The preter-naturally charming Grant, who always looks on the verge of a sweat, tries, with a striking lack of success, not to pursue MacDowell or to fall in love with her. It is a task made considerably more difficult when he keeps running into her—at a funeral and three more weddings, one of them hers, one of them his.
There are plenty of sly moments to savor here: Grant's cadre of unmarried friends providing salty commentary at each wedding, all the while desperately seeking mates; celebrated English comic Rowan Atkinson, clumsily officiating at one union and coming up with "awful wedded wife" and "johned in holy matrimony"; and a literate script with references to cultural icons as disparate as Oscar Wilde, W. H. Auden and David Cassidy. Remarkably, this charming film never loses its froth or its footing. If anyone asks if you want to see Four Weddings and a Funeral, just say "I do." (R)