Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz in My Best Friend's Wedding.
(©1997 Sony Pictures. All rights reserved.)
Cameron Diaz also supplies a wonderful performance as the bride-to-be who Ms. Roberts must discredit. She's so darn sweet and lovable, though, treating Roberts as the sister that she never had, that Roberts is immediately thrown off balance. And the movie supplies a few good bits of unexpected humor. When Julia and Dermot have one of their big dramatic scenes, we hear in the background a trio of family friends singing John Denver's "Annie's Song" ("you fill up my senses . . . like a mountain in springtime, like a walk in the rain"), sounding like Alvin and the Chipmunks as they trade swigs from a helium tank. It's a nice contrast that helps lighten the seriousness of the situation. And we also get a wonderful sequence during the opening credits when a quartet of women singers, dressed like a bride and the maids of honor (and moving in classic '60s girl group fashion), sing about hooking the perfect guy, an old Burt Bacharach and Hal David tune called "Wishin' and Hopin'."
Unfortunately, however, the filmmakers lacked the conviction to really let the audience question Ms. Roberts intentions (which is doubly disappointing seeing as this movie was directed by P.J. Hogan, who gave us the quirky and delightful Muriel's Wedding). They want us to like Ms. Roberts even when she is being deceitful and duplicitous. They give us her infectious laugh and her elfish grin. She's made to look angelic even when she's being a supreme bitch. In the process, My Best Friend's Wedding becomes a pleasant but inconsequential piece of fluff.
A Jerry Zucker/Predawn Production