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My Best Friend's Wedding
[rating: 2 of 4 stars]movie review by Gary Johnson

Go to:
the official web site for My Best Friend's Wedding

If you own a TV or if you've been to a movie theater recently, you've probably seen the trailers for My Best Friend's Wedding. The trailers give us the basics of the situation: a woman (Julia Roberts) learns her best friend, a man (Dermot Mulroney), is engaged, and now she realizes that she actually loves him. So she plans to derail the wedding and win him over.


Movie poster for My Best Friend's Wedding.

Sony Pictures. All rights reserved.)

My Best Friend's Wedding

Typically, Hollywood would allow us to enjoy seeing the wedding plans fall apart, with a fiancée who we all love to hate (usually a rich bitch, as in Trial and Error). The movie would end up showing us just how perfect the male and female leads are for each other. And the sweeter movies would even give us an alternative mate for the fiancée--enforcing the idea that everyone will now be happier, that the wacky shenanigans were all for the best.

Well, My Best Friend's Wedding avoids that cliched approach. Thank goodness. The filmmakers have a few tricks up their sleeves for delivering an unconventional romantic comedy. In the process, they even allow Julia Roberts to look crazy, selfish, and psychotic. Now I'm not going to reveal much else of the story here--part of the pleasure of this movie is seeing it take off in a different direction than you might expect.

Julia Roberts and Dermot Mulroney in My Best Friend's Wedding.

Sony Pictures. All rights reserved.)

But while I'm grateful that the movie doesn't give us the standard romantic cliches, I still feel let down by this movie. It gives us a few surprising twists in the plot, but the dialog and the characters are relatively dull. Virtually none of the dialog is memorable and the situations, with only a couple exceptions, rarely generate many laughs from the audience. However, My Best Friend's Wedding is such a pleasant movie that most audience members probably won't notice that they really weren't laughing very much.

The movie does feature a wonderful performance by Rupert Everett as a gay friend of Julia Roberts. In one of the less imaginative twists of the plot, he ends up pretending he and Ms. Roberts are engaged (how many TV sit-coms have force fed us the same plot?). But he ends up stealing virtually every scene he's in. In particular, he's wonderful in a scene where the wedding party is having the ceremonial pre-wedding dinner and he spontaneously begins singing Dionne Warwick's "I Say A Little Prayer" and gets everyone to join in, even the father of the groom.

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.

Go to the Web site for My Best Friend's Wedding

TriStar Pictures

A Jerry Zucker/Predawn Production


Julianne PotterJulia Robert
Michael O'NealDermot Mulroney
Kimmy WallaceCameron Diaz
George DownesRupert Everett
Walter WallacePhilip Bosco
Joe O'NealM. Emmet Walsh
Samantha NewhouseRachel Griffiths
Amanda NewhouseCarrie Preston
Isabelle WallaceSusan Sullivan
Scott O'NealChris Materson
Directed byP.J. Hogan
Produced byJerry Zucker
Ronald Bass
Screenplay byRonald Bass
Director of PhotographyLaszlo Kovacs
Production DesignerRichard Sylbert
Music byJames Newton Howard
Film EditorsGarth Craven
Lisa Fruchtman
Executive ProducersGil Netter
Patricia Whitcher
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