The Wedding Planner (2001)
Main cast: Jennifer Lopez (Mary Fiore), Matthew McConaughey (Steve Edison), Bridgette Wilson-Sampras (Fran Donelly), Justin Chambers (Massimo), Judy Greer (Penny), and Alex Rocco (Salvatore Fiore)
Director: Adam Shankman


This romantic comedy puts to rest two nagging questions that always plague me, ie

(a) Can Jennifer Lopez speak on screen in a voice higher than a squeaky whisper? (No)

(b) Can Matt McConaughey play anything apart from a bored-stiff stiff? (No)

The Wedding Planner has charm, but it's like a really bad category romance novel, filled with dire things like misunderstandings and women making excuses for their men's bad behaviors.

Mary Fiore is an enthusiastic wedding planner who can tell you with a straight face the signs of an impending marriage disaster. She is very good at what she does - fixing bridal jitters of her friends, making last-minute contingency plans when things go wrong at weddings, etc. Alas, her own love life is a mess and her orgasms come from a good game of Scrabble (the real Scrabble, dear). When she lands the job of organizing rich business figure Fran Donelly's wedding, she is happy because here may be her chance to be partner at the firm she works at.

But she falls for Fran's hubby-to-be when he rescues her from an accident. He doesn't tell her, though, because he's "not sure he's actually struck by true love". A nice, lengthy euphemism for "stupid jerk", really. But through music and dance, things will get fixed and Mary will get her own Barbie and Ken wedding, yes?

Mary squeaks like an irritating Minnie Mouse, but Lopez's attempt to out-Julia Roberts in a romantic vehicle has its charming moments. Given time, I can easily warm up to her, because Mary has an infectious way of seizing the best moments in life. But McHowdyaspellhisnamehey plays his role like a sleepwalker, devoid of enthusiasm, roguish charm, or even life. Maybe he spent all his energy on playing naked dancer to bongo rhythms, who knows, but Steven ends up more like a lousy catch than a genuine romantic lead.

Misunderstandings pile, every rather lead-headed plot contrivances (the other man, the other woman, and a forced, rather unreal happy ending) pops up, and I wonder if scriptwriters Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis have been reading way too many substandard Harlequin American romances for their own good.

They should have made Matthew McReallyhowdyaspellhisnamehey reprise his popular Naked To Bongos routine here.

Rating: 70


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