In this year’s summer preview edition of Entertainment Weekly, Made of Honor producer Neal Moritz all but admits his movie is little more than a rehash of other successful romantic comedies. He says, “we couldn’t do My Best Friend’s Wedding again, but we could do the reverse of it.” Unfortunately, they haven’t even done that much to differentiate it from the dozens of other similar movies we’ve all seen. Sure they’ve cast a guy in the role Julia Roberts played back in 1997, but he’s barely a guy, and at times the script treats him as if he’s a woman. Meanwhile it’s 2008 and Made of Honor feels like it’s still stuck there, back in good old 1997.
It stars Patrick Dempsey as a womanizer named Tom, whose best friend Hannah (Michelle) is the only girl in his life he hasn’t slept with. Hannah at long last has decided to get married, and suddenly Tom wakes up and realizes she’s the one for him. Lucky for Tom, Hannah has decided to make him her maid of honor, allowing not only for plenty scenes in which people assume he’s gay, but also letting him try to stop the wedding by working from the inside out.
Like all characters in romantic comedies, Tom is independently wealthy and as far as we can tell doesn’t actually do anything. It’s hard to say why this is such a staple of rom-coms, perhaps it is necessary in order to excuse all the time our protagonists invariably waste running around trying to woo the girl. No man with a job would ever get this much time off of work. Thanks Tom, for making it impossible for us work a day Joes to live up to the unrealistic expectations you and all the other Hollywood layabouts like you, have created for our girlfriends.
Since the movie’s genesis was as a rehash of My Best Friend’s Wedding, it’s hardly a surprise that the whole thing feels eerily familiar. It’s not just the similarities to the much better done My Best Friend’s Wedding either. The film is basically a laundry list of all the old romantic comedy clichés we’ve seen dozens of times before over the years. Tom has a stock group of buddies whom he plays basketball with, and randomly bounces ideas off of. Occasionally Tom shares his feelings with them, in between jump shots. Not because that’s the sort of thing any real guy would do, but because it’s the sort of thing women would like to believe we’d do. Hannah is a clueless love interest who seems to be actively working to avoid noticing Tom’s growing affection. And then there’s the movie’s title, which aside from being a not-so-clever play on words, if you think about it has absolutely nothing to do with what’s going on in this film. Trying to ruin your best friend’s wedding so you can make out with her is not exactly what I would call honorable.
It’s not that Made of Honor is actually unpleasant. The scenery is beautiful, particularly when things move over to Scotland for the wedding, and the cast is adequate. It’s simply familiar, a bland redo of other things you’ve already seen done, but with significantly less zest and charm.