Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Best Friend's Wedding Is One Miserable Person's Quest To Do Something Stupid.

The Good: The end
The Bad: Character, Acting, Plot, Utter lack of charm
The Basics: My Best Friend's Wedding is filled with utterly unlikable characters, acting devoid of any charisma and a plot so ridiculous and stupid as to be absent and a huge disappointment.

There are several reasons I usually shy away from romantic comedies. The biggest reason for me is that more often than not, I find them predictable and unfunny. Every now and again, a romantic comedy comes along that has such quirky, original characters or a story I cannot resist because it is clever and different. I like those romantic comedies. They are about one in every two hundred. This is not one of them.

My Best Friend’s Wedding is quite possibly the romantic comedy I have enjoyed the very least in the entire genre. Jules, approaching 28, believes her supposed best friend Michael is going to cash in on a deal they made years ago. They had agreed if they were not married by 28, they would marry one another. Jules is wrong, however, as Michael reveals that he is all set to marry the perky Kimmy. Jules decides to do something about this; break up the wedding. With and without her friend George, Jules embarks on as mission to stop Michael from marrying Kimmy and get him to marry her instead.

This is a conceptually weak film and it goes from bad in the beginning to worse throughout. At every major decision, the characters turn to Jules, who steers them more and more wrong. It's painful to watch because they consistently dig themselves in deeper and deeper until the viewer is left screaming at the screen, wondering who finds this dribble entertaining.

At the crux of the problem are the characters. Jules, especially, is unlikable and devious. She is cruel, unloveable, utterly lacking in charm and obsessive. That none of the other characters seem to recognize this is ridiculous. That at every turn, Michael and Kimmy turn to her for advice is silly and as she continues to purposely give them bad advice makes it more difficult to watch. The viewer is not captivated, waiting to see what happens next. Instead, we sit there disgusted wondering when this will be over. Indeed, Jules makes this 105 minute film seem like at least three hours. In short, there's nothing remotely alluring about Jules that would make anyone want to marry her, much less cast off a wedding at the last moment to be with her.

And the other characters are no better. Why George encourages her to tell Michael she loves him instead of advising her to cut her losses and move on is ridiculous. But even there, it's excusable. George playing at being Jules' fiance is just inexcusably in bad taste. It doesn't make sense on a character level and it feels contrived from a plot perspective. Michael is white bread bland and his ability to marry a woman after a month with such an elaborate wedding is stupid to the point of defying comic convention. Never does Michael say or do anything in My Best Friend’s Wedding to indicate why he is worth all of the time and effort of two women competing for him. And finally, there is Kimmy. Actually, that's all there is to say. Kimmy is a perky, difficult-to-watch parody of a soon-to-be bride.

The acting is nothing to shout about either. First off, the casting director ought never to get work again; Dermot Mulroney and Rupert Everett as Michael and George was one of the worst casting decisions in recent memory. The two are visually so similar as to often be interchangeable. They sound alike, look alike and dress alike. Poor casting, costuming and writing. Yes, one has a scar. I finished watching the film twenty minutes ago and I could not tell you which had the scar, though. Both actors are supposed to be Hollywood suave and sophisticated and desirable and both come across as bland and insipid.

Similarly, Cameron Diaz is a parody. She is super-excited, lacking in real definition or humor. Essentially, she is playing the same character here as her character in Charlie's Angels (reviewed here!). Here, she's getting married, though. There's nothing exciting in her performance, just her energy and enthusiasm.

The performance that sinks the film is Julia Roberts as Jules. Roberts never infuses Jules with any charm or her natural charisma to make the viewer believe her character is even capable of love. In the end, a glimmer of that is necessary to sell us on this film. Absent of that, Roberts' performance is devoid of believability and her smile does not save her. Roberts lacks comedic timing and energy and it leaves My Best Friend’s Wedding listless and without redeeming features.

The only thing that is enjoyable about this film is its ending. It's not the typical ending, though it is certainly the place Jules deserves to end up. Even with that, though, there's a disappointment. Michael's easy forgiveness of Jules for all her sabotaging is silly. Justice is not served in this film as Jules does not end up utterly alone. My Best Friend’s Wedding embodies all of the worst, cheapest aspects of the romantic comedy and is a waste of time for anyone who could be watching pretty much anything else.

For other works with Dermot Mulroney, be sure to visit my reviews of:
Flash Of Genius
The Family Stone
About Schmidt


For other film reviews, please check out my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the movies I have reviewed!

© 2012, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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