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My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)

Julianne fell in love with her best friend the day he decided to marry someone else.

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 105 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 15


One of the most soul-sapping parts of being a movie reviewer is sitting through the procession of practically identical romantic comedies which Hollywood continues to gob forward each and every year with tireless, and completely misplaced, enthusiasm. ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ would appear, at the outset at least, to be a prime example of just such a film: it’s about a 20-something gal who realises she’s madly in love with her closest man-friend, just as he’s about to marry someone else. And, just to hammer home the point that this looks like it’s going to be as formulaic a rom-com as you’ll get, it even stars Julia bloody Roberts in the lead role. With all of that in mind, it was with a sense of deep downright disinterest that I placed this disc into my DVD player.

I was wrong. Though far from a comic masterpiece, writer Roland Bass has managed to produce a flick which manages to stay true to its generic roots AND contain healthy helpings of sharpness and originality at the same time. The first 45 minutes, in which the premise is set-up, Roberts’ character Julianne drones on about her romantic epiphany, the object of her desire (Dermot Mulroney) is unveiled as exactly the sort of handsome-but-charmless safe-zoid you’d expect, and we meet a ditzy Cameron Diaz as her lurve rival, are only there to lull us into a false sense of security. You see, as Julianne grows more and more desperate to split the pair of them up, her behaviour becomes, frankly, bang out of order, and suddenly us viewers are left with an unexpected dilemma: could it really be that the character we all thought we were supposed to be rooting for is actually a bit of a bitch? That’s perhaps a slightly extreme way of putting it but, nonetheless, it’s around the same time we realise this that we also realise we might also have a half-decent film on our hands.

‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ isn’t brilliantly cast: Roberts and Diaz both know the ropes, but Mulroney is an empty-eyed wooden sculpture fit only for appearing in Cuprinol commercials. Neither is it what you might call hilarious: aside from a couple of mildly chortlesome moments, many of the scenarios it throws up are more toe-curlingly uncomfortable than laugh-out-loud funny. But Bass has clearly put a lot of thought into writing his screenplay, and it pays off with some unexpected subversions and a story that’ll keep you guessing right to the end. Will Julianne get her man and, more to the point, should we even want her to? It’s the latter question, rather than the former, which lifts this flick above the average.

It's Got: A bizarre musical interlude in a restaurant, and some fantastic helium harmonizing.

It Needs: To re-think trying to convince us that Mulroney is 28.

DVD Extras A 15-minute ‘Unveiled’ featurette, 20 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, a fun little 15-minute guide to ‘Wedding Dos and Donts’, filmographies, a trailer, wedding album trivia, and a karaoke sing-a-long version of the film’s ‘Say a Little Prayer’ sing-a-long (call me an old curmudgeon if you will, but I skipped over that last one). Version reviewed: My Best Friends Wedding (Columbia Tri-Star Home Video) DVD Extras Rating: 8/10


This rom-com, much like its two leads’ friendship, has more to it than you might at first think.