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My Best Friend's Wedding

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: My Best Friend's Wedding

Starring: Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz
Director: P.J. Hogan
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: June 1997
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Drama

*Also starring: Dermot Mulroney, Rupert Everett, M. Emmet Walsh, Rachel Griffiths, Carrie Preston, Susan Sullivan, Chris Masterson

Review by Andrew Hicks
2½ stars out of 4

Julia Roberts made the world love her back in 1990 with PRETTY WOMAN, but since then she's been in eight consecutive bad movies. DYING YOUNG, MARY REILLY and I LOVE TROUBLE hardly rank in the annals of filmed entertainment. It was only at the end of 1996 in Woody Allen's EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU that she seemed like America's sweetheart once again. But no one besides me watches Woody Allen movies anymore; it's going to take a far inferior, watered-down romantic comedy to return her to public graces again.

My guess is, MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING will be Julia's big comeback vehicle. She's got her big permed hair and lips fuller than ever, but even more important, she looks happy again. No mad Doctor Jekyll to deal with this time, just a wedding to break up. She's on a romantic mission that involves chicanery and deception, and the breaking up of a happy couple, but because she's Julia Roberts with her gracious beauty and awkward charm, we love her character anyway.

Julia plays a food critic for a newspaper, probably the only anorexic food critic ever (although she can recommend the best lettuce leaf and Tic Tac in the city), who has been as of yet unsuccessful in her quest for a man. The two most important men in her life are her Stallone-faced best friend and her gay editor. It's an implausible movie -- I mean, how could any man spend time around Julia Roberts and still be gay? -- but still a mildly appealing diversion with cast of beautiful people on both sides of the fence.

The best friend is played by not-so-young gun Dermot Mulroney, who was once involved with Julia but now plans to marry Cameron Diaz. Good choice. Diaz plays an eternally-perky college student who immediately tries to make Julia into her best friend as well. Julia instantly hates her, of course, which provides the interesting scene where Julia makes Cameron sing in a karaoke bar and she's so off-key that everyone loves her. Off-key isn't always bad; Alanis sold 12 million albums.

Yes, the marriage setup is an excuse for Julia to be rude, manipulative, sneaky and just plain mean once she realizes she's in love with Mulroney herself. Like I said, we love every second of it, because seeing Julia in the not-so-innocent roles brings the most comedic reward. She's got that innocent yet worldwise quality that made her a charming hooker in PRETTY WOMAN, and it still works here. It would have been better to stick with the premise and break convention, but the ending is completely sappy and predictable.

It's the sap and predictability that keeps MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING from being more than pretty good. The writing follows the track we'd expect, giving us a handful of truly funny jokes and only a couple memorable scenes like the "Say a Prayer" sing-along sequence in the restaurant. The rest of the time it relies too heavily on Roberts to fall off the bed, accidentally rip her dress, knock things over, and so on. We love you, Julia, but your name isn't Lucy.

Copyright 1997 Andrew Hicks

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