Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Movie #460: My Best Friend's Wedding

My Best Friend's Wedding is a rom-com starring Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, and Rupert Everett. It's also weirdly half a musical? I dunno.

Anyway, food critic and author Julianne (Roberts) finally realizes that she's in love with her best friend and former lover Michael (Mulroney) when he calls her and tells her he's getting married to Kimmy (Diaz), a woman he's just met. Julianne decides that she's going to steal him, and spends the rest of the movie trying to subtly (and not-so-subtly) nudge him into choosing her, sometimes with help or reluctant advice from her other buddy, George (Everett). She nearly succeeds by forging an email from Kimmy's father (Philip Bosco) to Michael's boss asking him to fire Michael, which almost breaks them up, but they work through it and Julianne finally confesses and then there's a chase and the wedding goes on as planned, huzzah, and Julianne sees her friend off and dances with George.

So, I mentioned earlier that it's half a musical. I say that because there are several instances in the movie where characters break into song, and wind up creating music for a scene that's diagetic; there's a rollicking rendition of "Say a Little Prayer for You" in a restaurant, and a harmonic version of John Denver's "Annie's Song" by some guys on helium. It's very weird. I don't know what if anything that means but it struck me while watching it that the whole "character sings" happens too often to be a coincidence.

Beyond that, I have a couple of issues with this movie. I think it's interesting in the lead character is the antagonist, but they never quite have Roberts abandon her morals altogether (she doesn't send her forged email deliberately, for instance - look, I know it's a fine hair to split, but the movie wants us to think it's important). It's hard to feel too sympathetic for her, but I don't know that we're supposed to? But then, too, it's hard to feel too good for the married couple, because all of the problems that Julianne points out in an attempt to break them up are totally legit (she's too young, he's on the road a lot, he expects her to drop out of college for her, they've only just met, she's a fucking billionaire heiress and he's a sports writer) and none of them really get resolved.

And maybe that's OK? Like, maybe the idea here is, yes, Michael might be fucking up but he loves this woman, she loves him, and Jules had her shot. That kind of quasi-nihilism would be interesting if the movie were played that way, but it's played very much as a standard rom-com, down to Roberts being made a klutz (this happens to women in rom-coms strangely often), so I dunno.

Anyway, there's also a nice moment with a very young Paul Giamatti as a bellhop who comforts Julianne, and that's a nice scene.

My Grade: C+
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: My Cousin Vinny