May 4, 2008

Movie Review: Made of Honor

Have I seen this movie before? Seriously, I must have seen this, or something very similar to this before. Oh yes, it was called My Best Friend's Wedding. I had hoped to enjoy this film based on the likability of the leads and to an extent it works. However, the story did not seem to be terribly well thought out. It is like the writers had the great "idea" of having a guy playing the role of maid of honor and rushed through the circumstances surrounding it rather than trying to develop an actual story with characters to care about. Still, as I initially left the theater I did have something of a smile on my face, but the further away I got, the more that smile faded. It was replaced with questions, did I really like that movie? What did I like about it? The answers did not come easy.

Let's set the stage. Tom (Patrick Dempsey) is best friends with Hannah (Michelle Monaghan). This lets Tom live the high life, always having a woman to be at his side while being able to sleep with any woman he wants. Sounds like a perfect situation, right? Perfectly unbelievable. Well, one day Hannah tells Tom that she is going to Scotland for business and will be away for six weeks. This seemingly innocuous occurrence sends Tom into a life changing crisis. After witnessing his father's (Sydney Pollak) sixth marriage he finds himself longing for a long lasting love, discovering it in his best friend.

Problems step up a notch when Hannah returns home from Scotland with Colin (Kevin McKidd) in tow. This obviously throws a wrench in Tom's plan to profess his love, especially when she reveals they are engaged and are set to be married in rather short order. Complications get even worse when Hannah asks Tom to be her maid of honor. What do you say to that? Yes, of course. As they say in one of the trailers: "It's easier to stop the wedding from the inside." Or something along those lines.

The rest of the film follows Tom as he attempts to fulfill his unusual role while simultaneously looking for a way to break up the happy couple and inject himself back into Hannah's life, albeit in a different role. Will he be successful? If you don't know how this is going to end, you've not seen all that many romantic comedies, a genre that has a hard time infusing anything new into the tried and true formula.

Made of Honor is easy enough to like, generally likable personalities in a familiar story, it is all light-hearted and does not require that you think all that much, plus it is great counter-programming to Iron Man. Problems arise when you stop and think about the characters, where they've been and where they're going, this is when things begin to whither on the vine.

First, let's take a peek at Hannah. Michelle Monaghan is fine in the role, but she is let down by weak writing. It is true that the story is not so much about her as it is Tom, leaving her to be little more than an attractive prop. The root of her character's writing problem is a strike against the heart of the concept, why would any woman allow herself to be best friends with a guy who treats women the way he does? Sure, he may be a nice guy, but his "rules" do not seem to be the sort of thing another woman could just go along with. Secondly, her engagement to Colin happens awfully fast, and the revelations that come out do not seem like the things a character that is supposedly intelligent would let slide. It is rather annoying the dumb ways the character is written that collide with the apparent smarts.

Tom, on the other hand, is also not written very well. He is played, by Dempsey, as a nice guy, someone any woman would be lucky to be with. However, beneath the smile is a character who treats women as props to be used and abandoned. I guess he is supposed to be nice because he is upfront with his rules. Anyway, he is not a nice guy, and he is lucky someone like Hannah even speaks to him, much less be a best friend. We are supposed to believe that he is a nice guy, when he clearly isn't. This is a serious character flaw that should have been addressed. The "growth" does not ring true. This makes the title suspect. Made of Honor? I did not find this schlub to be terribly honorable.

I admit to being suckered in the cinema by this slickly produced film. I went right along with the oddity of a man serving as maid of honor. Again, as I got further away from the screening, the blinders came off and the film's mediocrity was exposed to the cruel light of day. The light reveals the dark shadows behind the characters, the cliched plot turns, and just an overall blandness that blankets the story. In an attempt to distract from the blandness are a few scenes of slapstick and the enigmatic "Tiny Shorts Guy."

Bottomline. I am sure there are those out there that will really like this movie, I am not one of them as I find my liking of the movie slipping slowly away into the void. As much as they want you to believe there is, there is not a lot of heart beneath the shallow veneer. It is possible to make a likable romcom using the formula, but this is not it.

Not Recommended.


Kanani said...

Movies like this can only be enjoyed if you like Patrick Dempsey and can watch it with the sound off, while doing chores around the house --as to avoid both plot and dialog!

Post a Comment