Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Movie Review: My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)

A mean-spirited romantic comedy, My Best Friend's Wedding wastes the star power of Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz on unfunny and unromantic drivel.

New York restaurant critic Julianne (Roberts) broke up with sports writer Michael (Dermot Mulroney) nine years ago and they became best friends. Secretly she remains in love with him but terrified of committing to anyone. Now Michael calls from Chicago to invite Julianne to his upcoming wedding to college student Kimmy (Diaz), a seemingly perfect soul mate who comes from a wealthy family.

Julianne travels to Chicago with every intention of sabotaging the wedding. She meets Kimmy and finds her sweet, loving and dedicated to Michael. Nevertheless Julianne tries to create a wedge around Kimmy's planned sacrifices for Michael's on-the-road career. When Julianne's efforts misfire, she calls her gay friend George (Rupert Everett) for help, but he will not necessarily support her devious intentions.

Despite the expected glossy production values, My Best Friend's Wedding never shifts into gear. Writer Ronald Bass attempts to subvert the genre my placing sweetheart Julia Roberts in the despicable role of breaking up a wedding, and the results are as expected: a selfish, hostile and dark soul as the supposed protagonist, sucking all joy out of the film.

In her rush to destroy the happy couple Julianne sprints past rash and into pure dumb territory, never once pausing to reflect on the type of relationship she may have with Michael should she succeed in ruining his perfect day. And it's not as though Michael is presented as any sort of prize. In Dermot Mulroney's hands the beau is a bland open-mouthed shell of a man, providing no clues why women like Julianne and Kimmy would fall for him. The vacuum at the core creates an opening for Rupert Everett as George to ride in and almost save the day, Julianne and George inadvertently emerging as the real best friends and possibly more, his gayness notwithstanding.

With no wit to be found in the script, director P.J. Hogan resorts to repetitive and elemental physical comedy from the trip-and-fall category, even trudging out the let's-all-run-after-each-other trick. Elsewhere, a karaoke session and a restaurant sing-along both start with promise but are then over-played. 

My Best Friend's Wedding should be cancelled due to lack of effort, heart and soul.



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