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"The Wedding Planner"

Directed by Adam Shankman.
Written by Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis.
Starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey.
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  1/30/01
 

Folks--

For whatever reason, "Break Time at the Ritz" was the most well-received essay I have written, and many of you menfolk on the mailing list thought it was my best one.  While I appreciate the kudos, it does surprise me that my love of the *toilette* got this much attention...

Drum roll please!  We have officially broken the 200-member plateau and I want to thank all of you for taking the plunge.  Hopefully, this will get better and better with every write-up!!

So, before you call me a sell-out for going to see "The Wedding Planner", let me first say that I had no intention of seeing this film.  But, Brian "Schmoove" Prenoveau and I talked last week and he mentioned that it would be a bit strange for me to NOT review this film, given its star and her gratuitous mention in my Bellview Rating System.  Admitting that this point was true, I realized that I had no choice but to review this film solely on the inclusion of Jennifer Lopez.

Kristin "Mac" Hollingsworth and I rolled over to the multiplex tonight to check it out.  Should I have been alarmed that the first preview that was shown tonight was the Freddie Prinze, Jr. comedy "Head Over Heels"??  The answer is yes.  "The Wedding Planner" stars Lopez as the title character, a superstar wedding planner named Mary Fiore that is just about to become a partner at her wedding planner firm (???) when she has a near-fatal run-in with a dumpster.  I say *near* fatal because Steve, a local pediatrician (Matthew McConaughey, "A Time to Kill"), saves her life just in the nick of time and for Mary, it is love at first sight.  The romance begins at their first date soon after the dumpster incident...and, the comedy begins when Mary finds out that Steve is the fiancé of a woman that has just approached her about planning an upcoming wedding.  Hi-jinks ensue and there are a few (predictable) plot twists that keep things interesting as Mary and Steve figure out how they feel about each other.

Romantic comedies, as many of you long-term members know, usually turn me off.  As our world's most predictable art form, if you have seen one romantic comedy, you have pretty much seen them all.  It takes both two great leads and an amazingly funny script to make one of these things work, and most of these sapfests don't meet these criteria.  But, I will admit that Lopez and McConaughey are pretty good here.  Both are very easy on the eyes and they have great chemistry in all of their scenes; it is easy to watch the film when these two are sharing the screen.  But, "The Wedding Planner" has a hard time figuring out where its laughs should come from, so we are given a supporting cast that both irritates and creates pure surprise in its poor usage.  We have a plot that has such a ridiculous set of events in its last 20 minutes that the story just kills it, and we have a middle 10-minute section that could have been cut out altogether.

a)  As with most romantic comedies, the two leads are the "romance", and the supporting cast is the "comedy."  So, if McConaughey and Lopez are doing their part, what about the support?  It is a complete fucking waste in this movie!!  Kathy Najimy, Fred Willard (the hilarious dog show host in "Best in Show") and Kevin Pollak all show up in brief cameos and all are wasted.  Najimy, in particular, has no business being in this film.  The support that is given is by the woman that plays Lopez' right hand in the wedding planning department, Penny...and, she annoyed the living hell out of me.  The living hell out of me!  Between Penny's overacted hype and Massimo, a friend of Mary's from her childhood, I was near self-strangulation as I watched these two clutter the screen with their inability to provide me with something to laugh at.  Part of that is the script...and, part of that is the casting director's fault for not finding someone with more talent.

b)  The last 20 minutes of this movie literally lit my seat on fire, as I twitched and shook through one ridiculous, "What the hell?" scene after another.  You have to see it to know what I mean, and to adhere to Bellview policy, I cannot give away what happens.  But, trust me, it is silly.

c)  There is a portion of the film where Steve and his fiancée Fran take Mary out to an estate on the outskirts of town...and, on the whole, the editors could have trimmed this 10-minute sequence down to about 38 seconds.  Naturally, they didn't, leaving for more un-funny comedy like watching Steve and Massimo do chin-ups.  Argh.

Sure, J-Lo (or, as us music fans like to say, "Stick to Movies") is pretty nice to look at--as is McConaughey, for you ladytypes--but looks do not a movie make!

Rating:  Rental

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09