An emotionally invested enthusiast of pop culture in the guise of a Copywriter. Apathetic by design. Aesthetically offensive and eloquently candid. A sentimental heathen.

Extravaganza was a TV show that I can’t help but to refer to as part of the “good old days”. It was part of my junior high school life, that TV show in weekend that I look forward to. And it was good, it was fun. So I found the idea of reunion irresistible, even if the trailer was not that convincing. As it turns out, though, it was a successful reunion.

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According to Angga (Sogi Indra Dhuaja), it is going to be a long day. He’s not wrong, because he have 24 hours to make sure that their boss’ only daughter, Lana Sastranegara’s (Adinda Thomas) wedding with his fiancee Bagas Wicaksono (Omesh) despite the threat of blackmail, the absent of bebek betutu, and the rivalry between the parents, Rani Sastranegara (Mieke Amalia) and Rama Sastranegara (Ronal Surapraja) with Tuti Wicaksono (TJ) and Edo Wicaksono (Indra Birowo).

To deal with the pressure – and wedding organizer Ting Tong’s (Aming) endless rant – Angga enlist The Crew: bell boy Iwan (Ibob Tarigan), concierge Mayo (Edric Tjandra), cleaning service Kokom (Tieke Priyatnakusumah), technician Ikhsan (Ence Bagus), and chef Januar (Tora Sudiro).

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I have to say, it was such a pleasure to finally watch a decent Indonesian comedy. Considering that the last I’ve watched was Komedi Gokil Moderen which ended up not making me laugh at all, I was quite traumatized. But The Wedding and Bebek Betutu proved there’s a tiny hope. Because I do found this movie enjoyable, as I laugh genuinely with it at times and even when I found it exasperating, its the fond kind that got me laughing – or at least smiling – still. There was something in their easy chemistry that in turn make it easy for me to just let myself get pulled into nostalgia and enjoy the movie, enjoy all the silliness in it even if the story was weak and cliche and pointless at times, but in that familiar way so you’ll take it anyway.

The Wedding and Bebek Betutu admittedly had a very cliche narrative. It present a problem earlier on in the story to show that the rest of the run will be about solving them. Then of course in the attempts of doing just that, they run into more trouble. There is stupid plans that somehow come through, perfectly-timed weird solutions, random coincidences, and over the top characters. All the recipe for a good old comedy. And yes it is very cliche, it very overused, but The Wedding and Bebek Betutu somehow made it work. It is not an exceptional work, that is very clear. There were a lot of times where the scene felt like a literal filler, like it had nothing to further the story or felt off-kilter. The supposed final felt hollow and not like a culmination of all hard work put into ensuring this happen. Some problems either have far too easy conclusion or were left without a care. Like what happened to Alex afterwards, for example. Heck, even one of the so-called important mission doesn’t have a proper post-completion scene to show its importance. Not unforgivable, but an eye-opener about how Tantri Arinta and S.Tomo might have lost track on all the problems they’ve created in the wake of plot. That, or they just couldn’t care less as long as the story ends with a happy ending. And of course it’s a happy ending, what else do you expect?

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Then again, despite all that, The Wedding and Bebek Betutu works because the casts were effortless. Not flawless, but they appear to be effortless in their case. Or at least the ex-Extravaganza crews were. After years of working together, it’s only natural they have no problem to slip into that familiar teamwork and turn on their old charms. After all, that’s what most people come to watch: to embark on a reunion with Extravaganza crews and see whether or not they still have it. And they do, because even their over the top acts felt natural, like you know it’s supposed to. Because that’s just how they act back then and it’s still how they act now. In comparison, thought, this make everyone who are not Extravaganza crews felt awkward and out of place. Ibob Tarigan, for example, often felt stiff and his camaraderie with Edric Tjandra and Tora Studiro is awkward sometimes. On the contrary, Tieke and Ence Bagus had such a nice on-screen chemistry that I kind of root for them. Compared to the blankness that is Omesh and Adinda as supposedly engaged couple, it was refreshing. Come to think of it, Tieke-Ence were the only convincing couple considering even the parents doesn’t ooze any coupley feeling. Doesn’t change the fact that TJ and Mieke were the highlight of this movie, with their rivalry and portrayal of competing mothers with far too much ego. They and Sogi alone made this movie worth it.

The Wedding and Bebek Betutu was an okay comedy saved by nostalgia inducing casts and presentation. It have gaping narrative and a handful of cringe-worthy acting, but it’s flaws I’m willing to overlook just to watch the ex-Extravaganza casts perform again like perfectly oiled machine and made me laugh. Plus, I am a sucker for movies with beautiful visuals and this one counts. What’s with that opening scene, those gorgeous long shots of Bandung, the nice color composition, and most importantly those damned time-lapse. Hell, this is a beautiful looking comedy movie and for that combinations alone they scored extra points from me. So really, The Wedding and Bebek Betutu is best enjoyed by sitting back and letting the nostalgia washed over you. Just revel in both truly funny moments and some not-that-funny-but-still-okay ones, and keep your eyes open for cameos here and there!

Pps: Plus point for not having a flood of derogatory sexuality or gender related jokes with Aming as butt of the jokes, and all those double entendree. Also, spare a time after the movie ends and treat yourself to some funny gag reel.

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Director: Hilman Mutasi. Writers: Tantri Arinta & S. Tomo. Released on: 8 October 2015. Casts: Tora Sudiro, Aming, Sogi Indra Dhuaja, Mieke Amalia, Ronal Surapraja, TJ, Indra Birowo, Tieke Priyatnakusumah, Ence Bagus.

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