Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Made Of Honor

Illustration for article titled Made Of Honor

In 1986, John Hughes wrote Pretty In Pink, a high-school romantic comedy featuring a love triangle between a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, her long-smitten best friend, and a handsome rich kid. It worked so well that he essentially wrote it again with the genders reversed, and called it Some Kind Of Wonderful. Cheap? Maybe. You could simply call it consistency. But what do you call it when someone pulls a gender reversal on someone else's movie? If that movie is My Best Friend's Wedding, you call it Made Of Honor.

Originality is often overrated anyway, but director Paul Weiland (City Slickers II: The Legend Of Curly's Gold, Leonard Part 6), working from a script by newcomer Adam Sztykiel and the generally reliable team of Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, doesn't offer much compensation for his lack thereof. Everyone hits the notes to a tune they, and the audience, already know all too well.

Following the same rhythms, Patrick Dempsey steps into the Julia Roberts role, playing a perennial bachelor who establishes elaborate rules when it comes to dating, but lets his guard down when it comes to his longtime platonic best friend, Michelle Monaghan. When Monaghan leaves for a work trip to Scotland, Dempsey realizes she makes him happy in a way an endless string of one-night stands with gorgeous women never could. But when she returns with a fiancé (Rome's Kevin McKidd), Dempsey has to serve as the "maid" of honor at, er, his best friend's wedding.

It's possible to do good work in such rote surroundings. Sydney Pollack, for instance, has some nice scenes as Dempsey's oft-divorced father. But it's also possible to do work that's a little too good for the material. In films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Gone Baby Gone, Monaghan has come into her own as a reliably fine actress. Here, she wears the expression of a woman who's had her heart broken many times over, but keeps finding a way to put it back together. It's touching work that makes Dempsey's plastic sincerity look as thin as the film's posters. It's telling that he's followed by a string of sidekicks apparently created to make him less bland by comparison. This is how Kadeem Hardison stays employed.