Directed by Adam Shankman starring Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey and Bridgette Wilson-Sampras
The latest offering from the Jennifer Lopez multimedia colossus marks her first – and hopefully last – foray into romantic comedy. She plays Mary Fiore, a wedding planner who has buried any hopes of having her own perfect day and concentrates instead on creating other people's. Her latest mission is Fran (Wilson-Sampras), a dotcom millionaire (hah! Film dated within three months of release!) who is getting hitched to a dashing young doctor called Steve (McConaughey). It's a big gig for Mary and she gets so wrapped up in Fran's arrangements that she nearly loses her head along with her designer shoes in a scenario involving a manhole cover, a runaway dumpster and a – join the dots – dashing young doctor called Steve. Will Mary get her man? Will Steve marry the right woman? Can you use this film as an excuse to end a relationship? Yes, yes and yes.
'The Wedding Planner' was clearly pitched as an enchanted return to the glory days of Treacy and Hepburn or Hudson and Day but director Shankman can't decide between bellylaughs or heartbeats. There were two opportunities here: one, go for the jugular 'My Best Friend's Wedding' style or two, craft a story about the right people at the wrong time. In the end this is neither, devoid of memorable gags but chock full of drama that creaks like a bad TV movie.
It's hard to equate the drawn, vacant-looking Lopez with the woman who burned up the screen with George Clooney in 'Out Of Sight' - turning her into a power dressing retentive is one thing, but expecting her (and the audience) to believe she hasn't had a date in years adds even more elasticity to a very brittle plot. McConaughey meanwhile, is just too quirky an actor to warrant leading love interest, the scenes between him and Lopez look more like rehearsals and you'd get more passion (not to mention excitement) out of a Carry On film played backwards. By the time the chocolate box finale comes around (warning: like waiting for a bride who is three hours late), you'll have endured Lopez playing drunk (method actors, sleep easy), supporting characters who are little more than cut outs and the classic line "love isn't like some enchanted evening". If you can wind your jaw back up you should have just enough energy to say "neither is this film" before hurling your pop corn, or better half, at the screen.