01 August 2008
Made of Honour, dir. Paul Weiland (2008)
Wow, lame doesn't even begin to describe this one. Lame might not be the word, though... let's try soulless and derivative and everything that's wrong with contemporary American cinema made for the female demographic. That's more than one word, but you get the idea.
You know, I can do harmless rom-com. I was more than happy to watch James Marsden sweep Katherine Heigl off her feet in 27 Dresses, and I didn't mind at all when Hugh Grant was sweeping varied actresses of their feet all throughout the '90s. If we look at those movies, each succeeded, possibly, because they took the cliches and smartened them up -- added some drama, at least tried to say something about the beauty and, sometimes, banality of love. Four Weddings jumps to mind, and Notting Hill. I'm even thinking of My Best Friend's Wedding, which I kind of hate but have to give props to for the scene in the women's toilets when Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz square off, and later when Julia sits alone comforted only by a cigarette. Amid a standard, cliched romance were these moment of real truth.
This movie, though, takes all available rom-com cliches and wears them like bling. There's the womanising guy with a womanising father who finally decides his best girl friend is the woman he wants to be with and somehow he can just drop his evil ways when he decides to pursue her, but uh-oh she's suddenly engaged. Now, he has to wreck her marriage, prove his love to her, and live happily ever after. So, as expected, her new beau starts out wonderfully -- he's smart, athletic, and super-rich. But when we want Patrick to win her over, he becomes dull, with a lame family who eats haggis and it's apparently okay for us to start not liking him. But never did I not like him. He was far better for the girl than Patrick, who spent a decade sleazing around with every chick he sees.
That guy is supposed to redeem himself, and the girl is supposed to fall for it all so quickly. How does that happen? How is that realistic? Oh wait, it's not. It's a cardboard reality where everything is just so straightforward. Add to the mix a lot of sexist gags, fat jokes, overused and out of place slapstick and you just have a perfect mess.
You know, I realised I was hating it when Patrick and Michelle Monaghan had about their eighth cutesy conversation in the beginning about muffins. Oh my god, the writing was so fake and unrealistic. "They're laughing about cakes, they are so going to fall in love!" Vomit.
Reading over Nikki's thoughts here, I'm reminded just how similar this movie is to the equally-abysmal My Best Friend's Wedding.
In both films, the lead characters, Dempsey and Roberts, realize too late that they're in love with their best friend, and each try to ruin said best friend's wedding under the guise of Maid of Honour. The only difference being that Roberts gives up (or grows up) and accepts that Dermot Mulroney will indeed marry Cameron Diaz, whereas Patrick Dempsey keeps up the fight until Michelle Monaghan relents and leaves Kevin McKidd at the altar.
Made of Honour switched the genders and changed the ending. It's Some Kind of Wonderful to My Best Friend's Wedding's Pretty in Pink. Add that to its list of Crimes Against Originality.