Rearview mirror: “The wedding planner”
Welcome to Rearview mirror, a monthly movie column where I re-watch and then review a movie that I have already seen under the new (and improved?) Critical Lens of 2021. I am so glad you are here.
The wedding planner ironically falling apart, like a wedding without a planner could do. The regalia are all there, the beautiful people and the picturesque surroundings and the overlapping pressures – but things are not thought through, no one has considered the audience’s feelings. Instead, we sat down and presented a series of loosely connected gestures related to romance and learned that this leads to something bigger. It doesn’t. But it does provide a helpful introduction to the “prohibitions” of romantic comedy, a roadmap of what Not do.
The premise seems workable enough, albeit a bit of a cookie cutter: Jennifer Lopez plays the unmarried Mary, a successful Type A wedding planner looking for the big event that will secure her promotion at work. On the streets of San Francisco, she is saved from being run over by a rogue dumpster that is hurtling downhill by handsome doctor Steve (Matthew McConaughey), who tends to her minor injuries and charms her out of her shell. Sparks fly, but …twist– He’s the groom at the wedding that Mary just signed. You can see how things are should Go From Here: While planning the big day, Mary and Steve will realize they are supposed to be together. The romance of it all, the picking of the flowers and the music, and learning about the dance hall will force them to face their feelings, which they tried to deny because they are good people and he is engaged. If rule number one in a romantic comedy is that the leading actors “can’t be together,” rule number two is that the audience really, really should want this. But there is no place in The Wedding Planner because Steve sucks.
He takes her on a date before he knows she’s his wedding planner. Before she knows he has a fiancé (even though he knows! He damn well knows!) They get dressed at night and flirt date. They watch an old movie in the park, eat M & Ms on a branch, and talk about their families. Actually, they hardly eat M & Ms because Steve has this tic where he only eats the brown ones because, as he suspects, the brown chocolates have to have the least artificial coloring. Even a kid knows the hard candy coating has nothing to do with the chocolate inside, but Steve tosses most of his M & Ms on the floor anyway (litter bug). And remember, this man is a doctor. He went to medical school. Where they don’t seem to teach you that it’s bad, unforgivably bad to take a woman on a day when you’re not single. His excuse is that he likes movies and had the night off and she asked him without first checking that he wasn’t engaged (that logic? Amazing!) And yet it didn’t mean anything. What an excuse! What a tail movement! What a dick man!
If rule number one in a romantic comedy is that the leading actors “can’t be together,” rule number two is that the audience really, really should want this. But there is no place in The Wedding Planner because Steve sucks.
After that moment and even though the last scenes Mary and Steve’s sexual tension is so youthful and so artlessly rendered that I wonder if this film is aimed at stoned teenagers rather than adult women. It doesn’t even get a mileage out of the fact that while fraud is wrong, it’s undeniably hot because it doesn’t go there. Steve and his bride-to-be, who split up minutes before they are due to walk down the aisle, feel more like a sad but inevitable conclusion than a triumph of romance over sanity. This is another central theme plaguing films about weddings: for plot reasons, the wedding usually takes place on a truncated timeline, forcing our heroes to face their feelings when it is almost too late to retire (see : My best friend’s wedding, a bizarre fantasy set in an alternate reality where nothing makes sense and everyone is insane). In addition, someone who has just left a person at the altar is unlikely to be in the right headspace to have a good relationship (see: The runaway bride), and it all adds up to a situation where, even in my most generous form, I can’t see how these two work in the long run. I am not buying it; I can’t get on board.
Weddings work well as a rom-com backdrop. When Harry met Sally, Table 17, Plus one, Palm Springs, and Wedding crashers (problematic in execution, but at the premise level, okay) Everyone uses the wedding as a milieu without asking us to buy into an “I object”! Nonsense. The breakup at the wedding is much better on TV, where we can watch the resulting awkwardness over a few episodes rather than trying to end it in fifteen minutes. Friends, New girl, and How I met your mother Everyone gets away with it by pushing half of the broken couple off the show. On happy endwho have favourited the “WTF” to leave someone at the altar is the show. The only time I’ve seen a dump work at the end of the aisle in a movie is in The cutest thingbecause it’s an elevated, goofy romp that, to consider, came out a year later The wedding planner and plays in San Francisco too, so maybe check this out instead …
Mary and Steve’s sexual tension is so youthful and so artlessly rendered that I wonder if this film is aimed at stoned teenagers rather than adult women.
Enough about the genre, back to the specific flaws of The wedding planner, A movie that I accept (I refuse to post a movie like The wedding planner) went from the idea to “Action!” in about a week and a half. Case in point: Jennifer Lopez plays an Italian. She talks about it at various points in the film. She is a thoroughbred Italian, and her very Italian father introduced her to a very Italian boy (Justin Chambers, LOL) whom she met as a kid one summer in Italy. Is it somehow “bad” to let Jennifer Lopez play with an Italian? Not at all. But it’s weird! Why wouldn’t they just … change the dialogue to make them Latina? I can perfectly imagine the conversation in which they decide it is better to have J. Lo, the famous movie star, in their film than find an Italian-American B-lister, but I don’t understand why them Wouldn’t Take the Biggest What this movie has to offer is that J.Lo is in it. She is not a chameleon actress who can mentally engage the audience in any type of role. People know Jennifer Lopez. Hug it or gloss it over, but don’t sit down and tell me the woman who played Selena is Mary From The Old Country. It only leads me to one conclusion: this film is incompetent.
I don’t remember the first time I saw it The wedding planner. I remember this month one guy waited too long to tell me he was with someone and it pissed me off. But I still eat every color of M&M and I still believe in the possibility of love … and funny, silly, funny movies. Just not this one. Single, don’t settle for that The wedding planner. Your Maid in Manhattan could be just around the corner! FL