My Best Friend’s Wedding

Julia Roberts has had an interesting career, one that’s seen her try (in vain, at times) to escape the “adorable” roles in favor of something with some meat. This 1997 offering was the first in a string of romantic comedies (her forte, I’d say), followed by Notting Hill and Runaway Bride. She’s good in this type of role, whether she likes it or not, but she’s much better – as is the film – when she’s cast against an actor who can hold his own in the same kind of movie.Here, this isn’t the case. Dermot Mulroney plays Julia’s BFF from way back when; they’d apparently made a pact that they’d marry each other if they were both single when they turned 28. Of course, they’re both about to turn 28, and lo and behold Michael (Mulroney) is getting hitched to the bubbly, rich Kimmy (Cameron Diaz). Naturally, Julianne (Roberts) has an epiphany in which she belatedly realizes she’s in love with Michael, and she sets off to ruin the wedding – er, I mean, convince Michael he’s marrying the wrong gal.With a setup like that, it sounds like this would be a madcap comedy, doesn’t it? Wacky hijinks should ensue, with Julianne getting into one zany predicament after another. Well, some crazy things do happen – there’s a wedding afoot, and we know from our movies that weddings are always fraught with discord – but there is a decided edge to the proceedings. Julianne isn’t some naive klutz who’s just completely convinced that she’s The One for Michael; she’s mean, duplicitous, arrogant, and self serving. It takes her the bulk of the movie to figure this out, but I was a bit tired of her schtick after the first twenty minutes or so.Mulroney is just not a strong enough actor for this role; he has so little screen presence anyway, and being on stage with Miss Julia made him seem even more underwhelming. Really, the casting could have been better for his role – this is the kind of part Hugh Grant could do in his sleep. Cameron Diaz is acceptable but not remarkable, but that’s fine; this is basically Roberts’ movie, anyway.Aside from the bitter edge that sometimes pervaded the script, I did find myself laughing, albeit only intermittently. A big plus was the presence of Rupert Everett, who plays Roberts’ New Bestest Buddy and whose character happens to be gay. Everett easily steals every scene he’s in, but that seemed like it was a simple task, given the thespians involved. A big negative, however, was that Julia Roberts really doesn’t look that good without well-applied makeup. In many scenes, she looked much older than her (then) 30 years.Big on schmaltz and adding a tint of cruelty, the movie just never settled into any kind of entertaining rhythm, choosing to rely on the wattage of a megastar to carry the story.My Best Friend’s Wedding: **# 2,687 


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