My Best Friend's Wedding (12)

Directed by PJ Hogan
Starring Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Dermot Mulroney, Rupert Everett

This romantic comedy marks a return to form, and what would seem to be obvious Julie Roberts territory. She stars as Julianne-Jools, a writer whose best friend is sports journalist Michael(Mulroney). The pair had made a light hearted pact to marry if they were both still single when they were 28, but when Michael calls with marriage on his mind, it isn't Jools, but young and unbelievably cute Kimmy(Diaz). Jools realizes that she loves him after all and sets out to break them up. Along for moral support is her gay friend George(Everett) who Jools gets to masquerade as her fiance!
While having the ingredients of a typical Hollywood comedy, Australian director PJ Hogan gives things a slightly different twist. If you saw Muriel's Wedding, then you know he likes to change the pace and tone of his films, and has an ear for kitsch music and an eye for the absurd. Coupled with a strong script that avoids the predictable, we have a nicely entertaining comedy. The big hit of the film is Rupert Everett, whose character George is the funniest thing in it. Roberts is also very comfortable and relaxed and turns in an appealing performance. She should especially be applauded as her character spends most of the film being a conniving manipulator, but we have faith that she will do the right thing in the end. Cameron Diaz is gorgeous, and completely perfect in what could have been a thankless role. The script is clever enought NOT to have her be shallow or brainless. While Roberts is the star, Diaz gets her share of the limelight and laughs. The weakness in the lead quartet is Mulroney, a lightweight actor who admittedly doesn't have the best written role, as the man in the middle, but it is hard to see two of the most beautiful actresses around fighting over him. He is an oddly charmless actor, who I remember being equally unappealing as Bridget Fonda's love interest in The Assassin. I guess the top male stars would not be content to be 'the boyfriend', and play second fiddle, but it is hard to see why Julia Roberts would go to such lengths for Mulroney. Rupert Everett's character is seen by some as a landmark as he is a gay man playing a gay character, who is everyone's favourite. Charming, witty, fun and a good singer and dancer! His liveliness brings the film to life. It is also nice to see Muriel's Wedding star Rachel Griffiths in a small role, but she does have the embarrassment of getting stuck to an ice sculture of Michaelangelo's David - by the tongue!
Yet again Hogan gets maximum usage out of old songs. In Muriel's Wedding it was ABBA, here it is mainly old Burt Bacharach numbers. George gets a whole restaurant singing along with him on Say a Little Prayer, Mulroney croons The Way You Look Tonight, even Kimmy gets to sing at a Karaoke bar and is so appallingly bad! One of the most touching scenes near the end between Jools and Michael is accompanied by some kids singing Annie's Song under the influence of helium!
This film was a big hit in America, and deservedly so. It is a delightful comedy with a nice touch of dark humour, and sees two of the prettiest actresses(Roberts and Diaz), one of the prettiest actors(Everett) and one of the best directors of non-mainstream comedies(Hogan). Recommended.8/10.

September 1997

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