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Been there, seen that

New film starring Patrick Dempsey is too similar to My Best Friend’s Wedding

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So often as I sit in a dark theater screening a new film, a little voice in my head goes off saying, “Here we go again! You’ve already seen this film.”

Of course, it’s not that I’m actually watching the exact same movie, but especially when it comes to romantic comedies, Hollywood — and even some independent filmmakers — increasingly have a tendency to take the script of a successful picture, tweak it just slightly, set it in another locale, recast it with new stars and foist it on what they think is an unsuspecting public.

With Made of Honor, methinks the target audience for this film — primarily young women — will quickly realize that this movie has a similar premise to the popular My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), with Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Rupert Everett and Cameron Diaz. In that movie, it was Roberts’ food critic character who suddenly realizes her lifelong best buddy (the Chicago sportswriter played by Mulroney) is the true love of her life. The plot mainly follows her ongoing quest (as a subversive within the wedding party) to make Mulroney realize it is her — and not Diaz — with whom he is fated to walk down the aisle.

In Made of Honor, there’s a gender switch and a different ending, but by and large we’re on the same path. Unfortunately, the filmmakers add nothing new, funnier or more engaging to this rehash of friend-turned-lover plot to justify trotting this story out again. It was directed by Paul Weiland, who also directed the notorious flop Leonard Part 6 (1987).

The only (somewhat) saving grace is the casting here of two highly appealing actors in the lead roles — “McDreamy” himself, Patrick Dempsey of Grey’s Anatomy fame, and the attractive and thoroughly genuine Michelle Monaghan. Though forced to make do with one predictable scene after another, these two perform with charm and do their darnedest to sparkle plenty on the big screen. It’s a shame they were not given better material.

Dempsey plays Tom, a skirt-chaser of the first order since his college years, when he accidentally slipped into bed with Monaghan’s good-girl Hannah. That initial angst-fraught incident morphs forward into a decade-long friendship. Tom and Hannah are true best friends who can finish each other’s sentences, share similar tastes in virtually all things and develop a strong bond based on a totally platonic relationship. Hannah becomes a respected art restorer, while Tom cashes in as the guy who invented that ubiquitous corrugated paper ring handed out with every cup of coffee at popular coffeehouses worldwide.

As Tom leaps from bed to bed as a serial one-night-stand champion, he learns that best buddy Hannah has agreed to tackle a six-week gig in Scotland, where she has been hired to restore a special art collection. While Tom is depressed that his constant friend will be reachable only via cell phone or e-mail for more than a month, he calms himself with the knowledge that she will soon return — and life will go back to the safe state of security they have previously enjoyed.

Imagine his surprise when Hannah comes back with a Scottish nobleman as her fiancé. From there we are taken on a whirlwind romp, but one that is both unbelievable as well as silly. Enlisted to be her male “maid” of honor, Tom keeps trying to derail the romance, both in New York and in Scotland, as they all fly over for the big wedding.

Dempsey and Monaghan — and the rest of the cast, for that matter — give it their all, but it isn’t enough to lift this formulaic nonsense out of the stew of mediocrity in which it merely simmers from start to finish.

Made of Honor


Stars: Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan and Kevin McKidd

Director: Paul Weiland

Rated: PG-13 for sexual content and language

Theaters: Century Olympia, Galaxy Tacoma 6, Galaxy Uptown Theatre, Lakewood Cinema 15, Lakewood Towne Center 12, Regal Martin Village 16, Regal South Hill 6, Yelm Cinemas @ Prairie Park

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