When casting a light comedy, Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey would
probably be two of the last names that would come to mind. But in Adam
Shankman's THE WEDDING PLANNER these choices prove superb. A good-spirited,
romantic comedy with an almost child-like innocence, the movie sweeps you
off your feet and puts you in the mood for laughter and love.
The frequently inspired script is by Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis -- a pair
of love birds, according to the press kit, whose relationship did not
survive the many years it took to get the script produced. THE WEDDING
PLANNER is a film that's easy to fall in love with, but, like the writers'
romance, the relationship gets rocky. After a marvelously successful first
half, the romantic comedy runs out of humor, leaving the love story alone to
carry the second part. It turns out, however, that the film is at its most
romantic precisely when it's the funniest.
Mary Fiore (Lopez) is the wedding planner. An anal-retentive who
alphabetizes her credit cards, Mary laments that "Those who can't do, teach,
and those who can't wed, plan." But she is a planner par excellence, running
weddings with hilarious, military precision. "Cover me. The FOB is MIA", she
barks to her assistant, Penny (Judy Greer), over her wireless microphone.
(Translation: The father of the bride is missing.)
After Dr. Steve Edison (Matthew McConaughey), Mary's knight in shining armor
rescues her from a killer dumpster, it's love at first site. There is,
however, the slightest of problems. Steve turns out to be the groom of her
high profile new client, Fran Donolly (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras). To add
further complications, Mary's father (Alex Rocco) introduces her to Massimo
Lanzetta (Justin Chambers), her newly arranged husband-to-be. The last time
Mary saw Massimo, he was a mud-munching little kid in Sicily. Judging from
his accent, he just got off the boat.
The chemistry between the control-freak wedding planner and the more laid
back pediatrician is delightful. They create sparks on the screen even
though their relationship is confined to a single kiss.
The movie is easily one of the mildest PG-13 films in recent memory. Save a
reference to a female organ and an innocent and sweetly funny scene
involving a male nude statue, the movie would have been at most PG. THE
WEDDING PLANNER is a comedy that warms your heart instead of grossing out
your stomach. Imagine that. It's no coincidence that some of the key scenes
happen while an old film is playing in the background. In many ways, THE
WEDDING PLANNER is a charming throwback to a simpler time at the cinema. But
the film never feels dated. It's a dynamite date movie and a good family
film as well.
THE WEDDING PLANNER runs 1:40. It is rated PG-13 for language and some
sexual humor and would be acceptable for all ages.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes