A social outcast (Toni Collette) living a seaside Australian port finds herself booted from her clique of popular friends after caught wearing a shoplifted bridesmaid's dress at the wedding of one of its members. Bailed out by her pitiable, barely connected political father, and stifled by a stultifying home life, she makes for the big city, is given a confidence boost by a new friendship with a paraplegic (Rachel Griffiths), and winds up a bride in a sham marriage to a foreign swimmer hoping to legitimize his Olympic bid. P.J. Hogan's Muriel's Wedding pushes the envelope for strange and offbeat, and seems a complete anomaly for its genre, but is clever and consistently unique. Collette's performance is just as strange, though completely endearing, and Griffiths is extraordinary in support.
*** 1/2 out of ****