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MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING


Pia Chew

Director : P.J. Hogan
Producers : Jerry Zucker and Ronald Bass
Starring : Julia Roberts (Julianne Potter), Dermot Mulroney (Michael O'Neal), Cameron Diaz (Kimmy Wallace)
Official Website: MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING.
Rating : **** out of *****

[ Julia Roberts, lookin' good ] Picture this contrast: Julia Roberts gazing pensively into space beside Mel Gibson vs Julia Roberts surrounded by a mass of springing curls smiling confidently with a conspiratory twinkle in her liquid brown eyes plucking the Bride doll off a wedding cak e. Two very different movies with Roberts playing lead roles. But with one huge difference: MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING is an invitation few will be able to resist, whereas CONSPIRACY THEORY (This title ranks as Hollywood's most unimaginative movie titles) i s a real dud.

I suppose I'll have to explain myself here a little. Roberts has always held a strong fascination among men and women. We love her like we love Meg Ryan because she's nice and pretty, because she's really a very good person at heart, because she's got a great body and really fantastic hair colour, because she always gets the guy, no matter what, because she got to sleep with Richard Gere for a tidy sum, because she doesn't act like a prima donna star. Roberts' fans are not interested about plot logic or realism, good dialogue or even good direction. Heck, we're not even fanatics about editing. We're in it for the Julia Roberts Experience. It is what keeps us going; craving and yearning for the next best Julia Robert's movie, seraching for that penul timate one which will solidify her very image as heart of gold sex symbol. And here in this movie, for just $ 7, you will be assured the most genuine, heart-felt, interpretation of the Julia Robert's appeal minus a few lapses when the director decides to add some "message" to the movie, which detracts from the JR Experience, but that's another story.

MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING is a very special wedding movie because its director, PJ Hogan, isn't bothered with the bride or the groom's pre-wedding fears and doubts. Similarly, the little domestic details of choosing between a pink or creme bridal gown co lour theme is also not his primary concern since the upcoming wedding between Kimmy (Cameron Diaz) and Michael O'Neal (Dermot Mulroney) is just a nifty vehicle to showcase Julia's amazing range as a screwball actress and a minor-league bitch.

[ Julia Roberts with pal Dermot ] Best friends since college, Mike and Jules (Julia Roberts) were, for a brief time, lovers who decided to call it off because Jules was not ready for a commitment. Years later, at age 28, Jules lives out a lonely but professionally fulfilling existence a s highly respected food critic (In the canon of Julia Robert's most unlikely professions, this must be the most unlikely, right next to "Sunset Strip call-girl"). It's a lonely dysfunctional life, I guess, when your best and only friend seems to be a mo re sophisticated, ultra dandified version of Hugh Grant. Jules' closest pal and editor, is played by Rupert Everett. He almost steals the show from under Julia's nose, but, its an unfair comparison, since he's extremely photogenic as well, and gets all the funniest lines. Suffice to say, this exquisite Brit actor will soon be to feverish gay men what Ralph Fiennes is to feverish hetrosexual women.

But this finely-balanced life is upset when Mike calls Jules one day telling her about his impending wedding to Kimmy, after only meeting her for a few weeks. Jules' magnificent ego takes a tumble and a beating, literally. She is caught completely off-g uard, but she recovers fast, a little too fast. She proclaims to George that Mike is making a huge mistake, that the couple are not meant for each other, that she; Julianne, is Mike's only true love. In other words, Jules convinces herself and us, that she is the saviour of romance and true love. What a story, what noble intentions, what bitchiness - she tells George that Kimmy is "toast" once she puts her scheming plans in motion to break off the engagement. What a Julia Experience with a twist.

But the story gets better, because it gets a little ambiguous. The heroine may not be Jules after all (sorry Julia fans). The movie gets us all geared up for the "reunion" between Mike and Jules. And why not? Jules is confident, accomplished and sophi sticated, plus she's got a killer wardrobe consisting of softy tailored man's suits and subtly sexy evening gowns.

[ Julia Roberts with Cameron Diaz ] But as soon as the war cry is sounded by Jules against her younger rival - Kimmy , the Julia Robert's mystique begins to falter just a little. She gets downright mean when plotting to show up Kimmy's incompatiblity. Some of the stuff she does are really so bitchy, I couldn't really bring myself to put it down here, but there's a painful and sadistic karoake scene of Cameron Diaz with the mike s inging her pretty little butt out. Then Jules gets even uglier when she tries to mess around with Mike's job as a sports writer while deftly putting the blame on Kimmy. On top of all this, Jules also goes all out to sedu! ce her best pal, Mike.

[ Julia Roberts with Cameron Diaz ] Poor Mike, played by a comatose Dermot Mulroney, who looks as if he's overdosing on Paracetamol as he sleepwalks through all his scenes with a slightly quizzical look on his face. He's probably bewildered by the antics of Roberts and Diaz who are both fi ghting over him (the only viable choice, since George, as we all know is G A Y ). He's probably puzzled as to why Roberts and Diaz get to do all the cool stuff like impromptu karaoke singing (Diaz) and slapstick physical comedy (Roberts). But what really got to me was Robert's continued efforts at destroying the bonds of love between Mike and Kimmy.

But Jules is a failed bitch -- her only claim to redemption. Her efforts are, at best, harmless and ineffective. But this is great, since the Julia Roberts mystique and appeal is restored almost intact. For this, we have to give credit to P.J Hogan, one clever director who has gotten us hooked and rooting for Jules inspite of all her madcap schemes which all end up thwarted. Besides, Jules turns out to be nothing like Hollywood's historical feuding Bitch-Goddesses - Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. She's constantly stricken by guilt, and she's as evil as Daffy Duck. At most, Jules is a 90s version of Lucille Ball with breasts.

But the most disturbing part for me was the uncalled for concealed jealousy towards Kimmy, another fellow female. Conniving plotting in any movie, especially if committed by one women to another, is Hollywood's favourite means of differentiating between the good girls and the bad girls. And MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING would have us believe that Jules is a misguided woman who wrecks domestic havoc on the intended couple. Does the movie have a moral centre which holds all characters in judgement? Sure. Hol lywood seems all set now in dealing with wayward women who have been pushy and aggressive and it has bestowed its official punishment on such gutsy, meddlesome and misguided women by pairing them up with gutsy, faithful, gay men at the end of a movie.

[ Julia Roberts with Cameron Diaz ] Fortunately, Hogan knows exactly what audiences want, and its not a heavy moral message for all potential homewreckers, even so, eternal companionship with a gay man can't be all that bad if he's Rupert Everett (also the house model for Yves Saint Laure nt). A meticulous craftsman, incorporating elements of kitsch, romance and fairy-tale in unforgettable sequences, Hogan is a master at juxtaposing melodrama with surprising details like teenage boys doing a rendition of "Annie's Song" on helium. His use of music , mostly tracks by that 70s hit-churning songwriter Burt Bacharach, is nothing short of inspired. And the famous dinner scene where everybody gets a go at "I say a Little Prayer" is hilarious.

Hogan also captures the two women beautifully, framing and composing their shots like a director infactuated with his leading ladies. Not surprising, since Cameron Diaz proves that she's much more than a cardboard ingenue and that she has capacity for co medy and drama. And Julia delivers one of her most rousing performances since PRETTY WOMAN. This movie will also renew all faith in the intoxicating exuberance and appeal of Miss Roberts, which had previously been obliterated by movies like DYING YOUNG, SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY, MICHAEL COLLINS, MARY REILLY, and CONSPIRACY THEORY.

* Wait for the TV2 broadcast. ** A little creaky, but still better than staying at home with Gotcha! *** Pretty good, bring a friend. **** Amazing, potent stuff. ***** Perfection. See it twice.

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Readers' Comments


From: PoÍtria (ecoz@hotmail.com)

This is truly an inspirational movie without all those sob scenes. Hardly any outpouring of tears but just sheer tears of regret e.t.c. I loved the opening acapella introduction which i think, really set the pace for the whole movie. Yeah, really enjoyed the songs and the natural enthusiasm which they were sung. I give my whole 2 cents worth for this one!

From: JESSIE HENRY (royhenry@localline.com)

I always love to watch julia in her movies. Everytime there is a movie playing at the theature I just got to see it! I know that the movie would be good, because julia plays in it.(SHE IS MY FAVORIT ACTRESS)This movie was good but I wanted her to end up with her bestfriend! I also liked how the movie turned out ironic. JULIA IF YOU GET TO READ THIS -YOU GO GIRL!-

From: inkpot@webvsisions.com.sg (inkpot@webvisions.com.sg)

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From: silvia ()

i really love this film but i wanted julia roberts to marry with his new gay friend,thanks.......

From: vheronne (vheronne@hotmail.com)

Hi! I just wanna say that the movie"My Bestfriend's Wedding is very wholesome, and a great movie. For you Julia I've watched it 15 times already if I'm not mistaken and planning to buy my own video tape of your movie, MBW. Julia, goodluck to you and more power God bless you vhe

From: Amber ( / Monday, April 26, 1999 at 23:08:15)

THIS MOVIE SUCKED EXECPT THAT MY FAVORITE ACTRESS WAS IN IT

From: ANGY (TH / Wednesday, August 4, 1999 at 04:03:37)