The Wedding Planner (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner29/03/2001

1 star out of 5
Running time: 102 mins

Appallingly bad romantic comedy that gives the genre a bad name: no laughs, no chemistry, a disastrous supporting cast, a plot that is downright insulting - avoid at all costs.

The Wedding Planner is so mind-numbingly bad that it’s difficult to know where to start. It’s a movie-by-numbers of the worst kind – the thinking behind it clearly didn’t stretch beyond ‘Hey - let’s cast Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConnaughey in a movie and see what happens’. As a result, they’ve ended up with a so-called romantic comedy that lacks just two things: romance and comedy.

The plot itself is just plain ridiculous. It’s set in San Francisco and Jennifer Lopez stars as Mary Fiore, a wedding planner who is terrific at her job but - guess what - she hasn’t had a date in two years. Two years? This is JENN-I-FER LOP-EZ. Then, one day, she gets the heel of her very expensive shoe stuck in a drain in the middle of the road, just as a huge metal rubbish skip comes careening towards her. Help is at hand, however, and - boom - kind-hearted Matthew McConnaughey dashes to her rescue by rugby-tackling her out of harm’s way. She’s instantly smitten and that evening, they have a perfect date, involving heart-to-heart conversations, old movies in the park and dancing.

So far, so good, you might think. But then Lopez finds out that naughty Mr McConnaughey is actually the intended groom in the so-high-profile-that-her-promotion-depends-on-it wedding she’s supposed to be planning for Bridgette Wilson-Sampras (who is, incidentally, the only person to emerge from this mess unscathed). Meanwhile her well-meaning Italian father (Alex Rocco) is trying to set her up with Massimo (male model Justin Chambers), a young Italian man she’s known since childhood, which mistakenly leads McConnaughey to believe that Lopez is also engaged to be married. You can probably guess the rest…

The cardinal rule for romantic comedy is that we must feel sympathy for the main characters at all times - we must clearly feel that they are meant for each other. As such, it is hard to feel any sympathy at all for McConnaughey’s character, who, we’re supposed to believe is both in love with his fianceé, yet sees nothing wrong with wooing an attractive, available woman a mere week before his wedding. (We’re also asked to believe that, at no time during their long heart-to-heart did the subject of relationships ever come up).

Similarly, as the movie drags on towards its inevitable conclusion, we feel less and less sympathy for Lopez as she makes a series of ridiculously stupid decisions. As if all that wasn’t bad enough, the "comedy" set-pieces (involving McConnaughey getting the genitals from a marble statue super-glued to his hand) are so badly directed that you’ll be cringing with embarrassment for all concerned. In fact, there’s not a single comic moment that actually works.

It gets worse. Aside from the lack of chemistry between the two stars, the movie is also saddled with two of the worst over-actors to grace a movie in quite some time, namely Judy Greer as Mary’s (ahem) "kooky" assistant Penny, and Justin Chambers as Massimo, whose cod-Italian accent borders on insulting.

Finally, the whole thing is wrapped up in such a way that, unbelievably, lets McConnaugey off the hook completely. In fact, grooms finding themselves in similar circumstances will probably study his speech for years to come.

In all, then, The Wedding Planner makes the similarly-themed (and marginally less-disappointing) My Best Friend’s Wedding look like a masterpiece. Luckily, however, the film-makers have generously saved you the trouble of seeing it anyway, because they’ve kindly included ALL the main plot points in the trailer, from first meeting, to ‘shock’ revelation, through to the end. So by all means see the trailer, but avoid the actual film like your life depended on it!

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The Wedding Planner (PG)
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Content updated: 12/12/2017 21:55

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