My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)

More gratuitous garbage-- ah, the joys of summer-- this one a re-
lentlessly cheery romantic comedy that entertains with as much 
reckless abandon any of those bloated boy toys, such as SPEED 2 or 
CON AIR, only with broader laughs and big, goofy grins in place of 
the bombs, bullets, and other things that go boom in the night.  
Julia Roberts-- remember her?-- plays a neurotic restaurant critic 
who, for no apparent reason, decides to sabotage the wedding of her 
best friend (Dermot Mulroney).  See, they made a pact, years ago, 
to marry if each was still single at age 28.  So, on the very day 
that she recalls this fact, just like that, out the blue, he calls, 
not to propose, but, rather, to tell of his *own*, few-days-away 
wedding.  This drives her nuts and for reasons that the film never 
bothers to explain.  Worse, the bride-to-be (Cameron Diaz, playing 
a prep princess) just up and starts loving her on the spot, putting 
Roberts' character in an increasingly uncomfortable, increasingly 
jealous, and, heh, increasingly *advantageous* position.  (There's 
even a cat fight.  And in a ballpark restroom, no less!)

With Ms. Roberts beaming brighter than she's been in any number of 
years, a frothy supporting cast that doesn't frown much, either, a 
huge, high-dollar wedding ceremony at the end, and enough overall 
sunshine to blind any Batpatron unlucky enough to stumble into the 
wrong theater, MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING is the perfect summer movie 
to laugh, coo, and get all warm and fuzzy with.  Needless to say, I 
didn't buy a minute of it, mostly because there's no core character 
motivation for Roberts' character.  Bam, she's racing to the air-
port, cigarette in hand and mayhem on her mind.  (Do I recall a 
scene from the trailer, where Roberts is rehearsing the reasons she 
can't get married, thinking that her friend is calling to cash in 
on their pact?)  Sure, she's funny, falling off beds and knocking 
over dinner trays.  Sure, we feel her pain-of-the-moment, though, 
really, what kind of best friend sabotages the other one's wedding?  
And then she pauses to flash that mega-watt smile and everything is 
forgotten, except for how sore your bottom might be.  (Or, as I 
noticed, how much her voice, over an answering machine, sounds like 
Mary Tyler Moore's.)

Director P.J. Hogan (MURIEL'S WEDDING), unafraid to try anything, 
includes several musical numbers, ranging from the insipid (doo-wop 
girls in wedding gowns over the opening credits) to the excruciat-
ingly insipid (an everybody-sings rendition of "I Say A Little 
Prayer," complete with M. Emmet Walsh singing bass, if you can be-
lieve it.)  What else helps pass the time?  Oh, there's the oc-
casional oddball moment-- Roberts entering a plain-English Internet 
e-mail address, the actress behind the wheel of a "borrowed" bread 
van, and her quiet moment with PRIVATE PART's Pig Vomit, actor Paul 
Giamatti as a bellboy.  Let's see... Cameron Diaz croaking karoke 
is a confirmed comic high point, as is a fifteen-minute excursion 
into farce, when Roberts' character's drop-dead dashing gay editor 
(Pierce Brosnan lookalike Rupert Everett) pretends to be her fian-
ce.  His attempt at public affection may well be worth the price of 
admission.  Sorry about the hand.  (Rated "PG-13"/98 min.)

Grade: C+

Copyright 1997 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: June 18, 1997

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