Revisted: Attempting Innovation – A Short Review of "My Best Friend’s Wedding"

My Best Friends Wedding 1997

Grade: B-

Director P.J. Hogan and writer Ronald Bass were probably the pre-adolescent boys who slaved over an elaborate sand castle just for the joy of later pummeling it to pieces. As grown men, they do just that with My Best Friend’s Wedding, building a romantic comedy exactly the way you’d expect, complete with last minute chases, unexpressed love, and a desperate “choose me” scene muddied in lies, betrayal, and ubiquitous pop music. Julia Roberts plays the ruthless Julianne who conspires to make her best friend, Michael (Dermot Mulroney), realize she’s the one for him before his “I do’s”. Immediately, once Hogan and Bass have adequately shoved your face in this rom-com premise, they begin fracturing conventions, mistakenly expecting shock and awe to come from their demolition. Sure, they break our expectations—Kimmy (Cameron Diaz) the stereotypically perfect, pastel-wearing fiancée interestingly becomes more wounded puppy than villain.  Similarly, Julianne plays both hero and foe as we simultaneously want to root for her and shake our heads at her behavior. Secrets aren’t held as long as we’d expect, the “chase” scene has us questioning who’s chasing who, and our happy-ending becomes more and more uncertain, but the film never attempts to make up for the emotion it’s losing in its attempt to be innovative, but simply relies on the fact that it’s doing something “fresh.” Take away the happy-ending, the likable protagonist, the hated villain, and you’re left with a film devoid of feeling. Breaking the mold should be refreshing, instead the audience yearns for the old conventions the filmmakers worked so hard to break just to feel something at the end.


Posted on May 29, 2012, in Film Reviews :: Young and Old, Revisited Movies, The B's and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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