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The Wedding Planner

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Wedding Planner

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey
Director: Adam Shankman
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: January 2001
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Bridgette Wilson, Judy Greer, Kevin Pollak, Alex Rocco, Joanna Gleason

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
3.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

When casting a light comedy, Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey would probably be two of the last names that would come to mind. But in Adam Shankman's THE WEDDING PLANNER these choices prove superb. A good-spirited, romantic comedy with an almost child-like innocence, the movie sweeps you off your feet and puts you in the mood for laughter and love.

The frequently inspired script is by Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis -- a pair of love birds, according to the press kit, whose relationship did not survive the many years it took to get the script produced. THE WEDDING PLANNER is a film that's easy to fall in love with, but, like the writers' romance, the relationship gets rocky. After a marvelously successful first half, the romantic comedy runs out of humor, leaving the love story alone to carry the second part. It turns out, however, that the film is at its most romantic precisely when it's the funniest.

Mary Fiore (Lopez) is the wedding planner. An anal-retentive who alphabetizes her credit cards, Mary laments that "Those who can't do, teach, and those who can't wed, plan." But she is a planner par excellence, running weddings with hilarious, military precision. "Cover me. The FOB is MIA", she barks to her assistant, Penny (Judy Greer), over her wireless microphone. (Translation: The father of the bride is missing.)

After Dr. Steve Edison (Matthew McConaughey), Mary's knight in shining armor rescues her from a killer dumpster, it's love at first site. There is, however, the slightest of problems. Steve turns out to be the groom of her high profile new client, Fran Donolly (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras). To add further complications, Mary's father (Alex Rocco) introduces her to Massimo Lanzetta (Justin Chambers), her newly arranged husband-to-be. The last time Mary saw Massimo, he was a mud-munching little kid in Sicily. Judging from his accent, he just got off the boat.

The chemistry between the control-freak wedding planner and the more laid back pediatrician is delightful. They create sparks on the screen even though their relationship is confined to a single kiss.

The movie is easily one of the mildest PG-13 films in recent memory. Save a reference to a female organ and an innocent and sweetly funny scene involving a male nude statue, the movie would have been at most PG. THE WEDDING PLANNER is a comedy that warms your heart instead of grossing out your stomach. Imagine that. It's no coincidence that some of the key scenes happen while an old film is playing in the background. In many ways, THE WEDDING PLANNER is a charming throwback to a simpler time at the cinema. But the film never feels dated. It's a dynamite date movie and a good family film as well.

THE WEDDING PLANNER runs 1:40. It is rated PG-13 for language and some sexual humor and would be acceptable for all ages.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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