"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
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
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!
Comments? Drop me a line at
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
"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
"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