Muriel lives in her tiny town of Porpoise Spit, Australia with her parents (dad's a politician type), listens to Abba and dreams of the day she will get married... but she's never had a date. After going to a wedding, catching the bouquet, and being spirited off by police after being accused of stealing the dress she wore, she steals some money from her parents and goes on holiday, er, vacation, where she meets Rhonda, whom she vaguely recalled from high school. They pair up and move to Sydney, have some laughs and Muriel (who changes her name to Mariel) goes out on a date or two with a bloke she meets in the video rental shop where she now works. Whilst in the personal ads, she finds a post for a guy who needs to marry so he can be in the Olympics (gotta be a citizen, y'know), so she marries David (he's from South Africa) in an arranged deal. Her friend Rhonda is stricken with cancer on her spine and is confined to a wheelchair. Rhonda's mom dies (suicide by pills after dad tells her he wants a divorce to marry his girlfriend Deidre), Muriel ditches David (they don't really love one another), and Muriel goes to retrieve her friend Rhonda from where she's staying (Rhonda is at Rhonda's mom's home since she can't 100% take care of herself yet). Muriel and Rhonda load into a taxi and drive off together.
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