Made of Honor

Would Patrick Dempsey, the charming actor of the popular TV ensemble drama, Greys Anatomy, ever become a leading man on the big-screen In theory, he has everything it takes: good (if not drop-dead gorgeous) looks, low-key charisma, friendly demeanor, non-threatening sexuality (hes McDreamy, not McSexy), and a gentle, courtly attitude that many women, younger and older, find enticing.

However, Dempsey keeps playing second bananas, mostly supporting his pictures lead females, as was obvious last year in Disneys Enchanted, which was basically an Amy Adams vehicle. That movie was a hit, but it didnt do anything for Dempseys career. Hence, just seeing Dempseys name above the title in the posters for Made of Honor was encouraginguntil I saw the film itself.

What a schlocky disappointment: The producers of Made of Honor didnt even wait long enough to remake the romantic comedy My Best Friends Wedding. With a gender-bender twist, they have cast Dempsey in the equivalent role of Julia Roberts in that 1997 hit. Big deal, instead of a romantic triangle revolving around two girls and a boy, we now have a yarn with two boys and a girl.

With the exception of Judd Apathows original comedies, such as 40-Year-Old-Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, all which are male-driven, what passes as Hollywood romantic comedies these days are recycled goods, chick flicks like the retro 27 Dresses, toplined by Katherine Heigle, Dempseys peer in Greys Anatomy. (Sadly, so far, none of the actors of that show has been able to cross-over to mainstream Hollywood).

Add to the below-mediocrity and formulaic nature of Made of Honor, a truly cookie-cutter, the fact that it opens as counter-programming to summers first top gun, the effects-driven Iron Man, and you have a recipe for disaster, a movie that has no chance to rise above the heap at the box-office. Key variable is: How many of Dempseys TV fans would show up at the theaters over the indispensable opening weekend Hopefully, a large enough number so that Dempsey gets another chance at a leading part.

I was disappointed that female (and feminist) critics didnt tear apart 27 Dresses, or the whole subgenre of wedding movies, such as “Wedding Date” and “Wedding Planner,” not to mention Jennifer Lopez Maid of Honor, all of which suggest or imply that womens main goal in life is to get marriedusually wait passively for the right man to show up at the right time, a retro ideology that was utterly rejected even in the 1930s and 1940s, when stars like Katharine Hepburn, Irene Dunne, Claudette Colbert, and Rosalind Russell dominated our screwball and romantic comedies.

Every element of Made of Honor is recycled or second rate, beginning with the protags name: Tom (Dempsey), Hannah (Michelle Monaghan), Tom's dad (Sydney Pollack) is Thomas Sr. Three writers have concocted this confection, Adam Sztykiel, Deborah Kaplan, and Harry Elfont, based on Sztykiel original story, but I dont think there are even three new ideas in the scenario.

For the record: Tom, a proud bachelor, seems oblivious to the intentions and affections of his best friend Hannah (Michelle Monaghan, last seen in Gone Baby Gone). In a cutesy opening, we get a glimpse of how the duo first met in college. Recycling the notion of mistaken identity, Tom makes a fool of himself when, one night after drinking heavily, he mistakes Hannah to be her roommate and jumps into bed. Utterly appalled, Hannah rejects him none too politely.

A decade later, Tom, still the confirmed bachelor-womanizer, and Hanna, more rigid and moralistic, are buddies who enjoy each others company over lunches and walks in Gothama New York comedy, one of the few pleasures Made of Honor offers are sights of recognizable locales in the Big Apple.

Reproached for his non-committal approach to dating, the cynical, more realistic Tom cites his father (Sydney Pollack, also disappointing) as a negative role model, a man whos been married multiple (five or six) times but still believes in the sacredness of the institution.

Its only during Hannas absence, an all-too contrived and convenient subplot, that Toms heart begins to melt. Realizing how much her company is missed, he resolves to be candid with her about his feelings, a plan thwarted by the fact that Hannah is now dating seriously Colin (Kevin McKidd.), a rich guy who reciprocates with loveand commitment.

The clock is ticking, when Hannah asks Tom to be her maid of honor (mind you, not best man) at her wedding, and he has only two weeks to execute his plan. What slightly adds some color and complication to the proceedings is the far-away wedding setting: Scotland. Nonetheless, from that point on, the plot follows the format, with old shticks like Tom repeatedly making a fool of himself, offending the other bridesmaids, etc.

Its hard to fault the director, Paul Weiland, and his creative team behind the cameras, such as accomplished cinematographer Tony Pierce-Roberts, for the movie is nice to look at and shifts at a pleasant clip from one locale to another. In other words, Made of Honor is easy to swallow (or wash down, as one of my professors used to say) in a mindless, non-demanding way.

But at the end of the screening, youre left with a lump in your throat and feel bad for the talent on screen, particularly Dempsey, who clearly has talent and stature, but is also at a dangerous age, early 40s, for a viable career as a Hollywood leading man. Though looking and playing youngish, Dempsey is of the same age that Brad Pitt and George Clooney are. Speaking of age, it would be silly and petty to complain that the films character, Tom, is at least one decade younger than Dempseys real-life age.

Cast

Tom (Patrick Dempsey)
Hannah (Michelle Monaghan)
Colin (Kevin McKidd)
Joan (Kathleen Quinlan)
Thomas Sr. (Sydney Pollack)

Credits

A Sony Pictures Entertainment release of a Columbia Pictures presentation in association with Relativity Media of an Original Film production.
Produced by Neal H. Moritz.
Executive producers, Callum Greene, Tania Landau, Amanda Lewis, Marty Adelstein, Aaron Kaplan, Sean Perrone, Ryan Kavanaugh.
Directed by Paul Weiland.
Screenplay, Adam Sztykiel, Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont; story, Sztykiel.
Camera: Tony Pierce-Roberts.
Editor: Richard Marks.
Music: Rupert Gregson-Williams; music supervisor, Nick Angel.
Production designer: Kalina Ivanov.
Art director: Sue Chan.
Set decorator: Melissa Levander.
Costume designer: Penny Rose.
Sound: Jeffrey Haboush, Greg P. Russell.
Supervising sound editor: Dennis Drummond.

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Running time: 101 Minutes.

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