Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Best Friend's Wedding - 1997

The first time I saw My Best Friend's Wedding, I did not appreciate it at all. I was in a bad mood maybe and was horrified at the successful career woman Julianne running after an obvious MCP Michael and his doormat-in-the-making girlfriend Kimmy. I have some recollection of writing something on it, kind of an early blog, along the lines of - 'Please Julianne, do not demean yourself.'

I have mellowed now, a movie is a movie. It is one of those eternal timepass movies, the equivalent of a good Mills and Boon, where you can suspend your better judgment and just be swept away in beautiful visuals, good acting, and marvelous songs. It seems to actually get better with each viewing.

The story is about a couple of out-of-touch best friends Michael and Julianne who had a torrid affair once. Michael and Julianne have teetered deliciously on the edge of friendship and love ever since. Julianne is a successful food critic based in New York and Michael is a sports journalist based in Chicago.

One day Michael calls up Julianne and announces that he is getting married and wants Julianne to see him through that.

 "It's amazing the clarity that comes with psychotic jealousy. "

Says George Downs Julianne's Editor and her current best friend when Julianne suddenly realizes that SHE wants Michael and runs off to Chicago to break up her best friends wedding.

The movie looks like a wedding planner's dream come true. The bride's side is always dressed in some pleasing shade of pastel, some variant of the color pink, blue, orange or floral. Julianne, the sensible career woman is dressed in browns and grays. The father of the bride owns a sports channel and is stinking rich. This allows the film to have several lavish sets. Kimmy (Cameron Diaz) looks ravishing with her blue eyes and babydoll clothes and hair. Julianne (Julia Roberts) looks amazing with her big hair that curls all over the place, a wonderful shade of warm brown, and with her equally warm brown eyes. Michael looks like a boy next door that girls always flip for, not forbiddingly handsome, but very likable. And don't even get me started on Rupert Everett. He looks very, very handsome.

Kimmy (Cameron Diaz) is the girl who has knocked the socks off Michael. Young, soft, yielding Kimmy seems totally romantic and impulsive. She believes that if you love someone you say it right then, and out loud.

Michael (Dermot Mulroney) is the wholesome middle-class guy who lives by his sweat. He works hard as a sports journalist and loves his job. He enjoys it despite the long hours, erratic schedules and a lousy pay. He always thought Julianne was his kind of a woman until he meets Kimmy.

Julianne (Julia Roberts) is the total career woman, the New Woman who does not think she lags behind men in any aspect. She is able to handle her career quite well, thank you. She can knock back drinks and not resort to any feminine wiles to woo men. She is a tomboy grown into a gorgeous woman in a sort of a denial of her charms. She is a commitment phobic and does not have any relationship that lasts a couple of weeks.

George (Rupert Everett) is Julianne's editor and her current best friend. He has this quizzical expression when dealing with Julianne because she surprises him constantly. He is smart, urbane, well entrenched in the art circles of New York yet is grounded enough to be able to see things as they really are. He is willing to stand by his best friend, Julianne forever and not pass a judgment on her. At the same time, he can give her hard-headed advice too, as a true friend should. What I love best is the way he drops everything at hand to be with his best friend in times of need. He looks divine, gorgeous, yummy.. somebody stop me.....

The film has a lovely soundtrack. 'Wishing and Hoping' the title track performed by Ani Defranco is really sweet. The topping on the cake is obviously Diane King covered 'Say a little prayer for you' which is practically the theme song of the film. There are other nice songs in the movie, but I like these the best.

There are some wonderful sequences in the movie, which are heartbreakingly poignant. When Michael tells Jules, "Kimmy says if you love someone you say it, you say it right then, out loud. Otherwise the moment just...passes you by". Jules has this bittersweet look on her face because she knows that the moment has passed her by. Then there is the difficult confession towards the end when Julianne knows she has to come clean and confess to the dirty tricks she has been playing to get Michael.  After that, the feisty catfight scene in the ladies washroom when the docile Kimmy springs her claws and goes publicly for the scheming Julianne.

But the scene I can watch many times over without tiring is the lunch scene where George joins Julianne as her newly declared fiance. Kimmy's mother leans over and asks George how he met Julianne. Julianne says, "Oh, he is my editor". But our flamboyant George is on a romantic roll and this is too bland for him. He launches into a hilarious over the top purple prose like description of their first meeting closing with all the guests at the lunch happily joining in as he sings 'In the morning when I wake up, before I put on me make-up, I say a little prayer for you'.

For me, the movie stands out for the lovely performances by the leading quartet of Cameron Diaz, Dermot Mulroney, the incomparable Julia Roberts and my favorite Rupert Everett. He starts the movie with Julia Roberts and rightfully closes it too, dancing with her to cheer her up. The movie would surely not have been the same without him.


  1. Wow, great review! Julia Roberts is a personal favorite of mine, and like you, I wasn't impressed by this movie at first. Anyway, I love your descriptive way of writing. I am finishing up a blog about my own wedding and used this movie as kind of a metaphor for the lavishness my hubby and I couldn't afford. Great read, keep it up!

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