The Wedding Planner
Stretching an unfunny gag. Steve and Mary (McConaughey and Lopez) struggle with a statue ... not to mention the bad script and casting.
dir Adam Shankman
scr Pamela Falk, Michael Ellis
with Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Justin Chambers, Judy Greer, Alex Rocco, Charles Kimbrough, Joanna Gleason, Kevin Pollak, Lou Myers, Fred Willard, Kathy Najimy
release US 26.Jan.01; UK 6.Apr.01
Columbia 01/US 1h43
1 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
This is the kind of film Nancy Meyers does over and over--a charming, undemanding romantic comedy centred around a wedding theme with true love conquering all manner of screwball hijinks. Unfortunately, Meyers had nothing at all to do with this film.

It's about Mary (Lopez), a lonely, fiercely efficient San Francisco wedding planner who one day is rescued from a runaway dumpster by a handsome young doctor (McConaughey). They hit it off, but Mary's romantic hopes are soon dashed when she finds out he's the groom in the big society wedding she's working on with rich, gorgeous bride-to-be Fran (Wilson-Sampras, yes, Pete's wife!). Meanwhile, her loving, goofily ethnic Italian dad (Rocco) is trying to fix her up with the adorable, goofily ethnic young Massimo (Chambers), just in from the Old Country. And Mary's zany assistant (Greer) does one zany thing after another. Neither hilarity nor romance ensues.

This is one of the most shockingly miscast films in recent memory. There's a scent of a good idea in the script, but no one bothered to polish it up into something filmable ... then they put two actors in the lead roles who have no discernible skills at romantic comedy. There's no chemistry at all between them. You don't want them to get together in the end. You don't really want anyone to get together with anyone else in the end. You just wish the Big Quake would hit and put everyone out of your misery. The heavily cliched script does contain a few good gags, but they're flattened by Shankman's dull direction or characters who are either over-the-top cliches (Rocco, Greer, Chambers) or dead fish (everyone else). Only Willard and Najimy make us laugh, and they're just given one scene each. It's all just so ill-conceived that it takes the breath away, really.
themes, language cert PG 9.Mar.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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