The closest Judge Ryan Keefer got to a bridesmaid dress was in the summer of '96. It wasn't pretty.
It takes a real man to become a maid of honor.
Every summer movie season ushers in three types of movies: You've got the comic book adaptation or other big budget popcorn thriller, the dramatic film, and the romantic comedy, with the latter two serving as counter programming to the first. Made of Honor was released at the beginning of the summer and the second film in six months that featured a star from Grey's Anatomy, with Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses being the first. Is Made of Honor just as good?
Facts of the Case
Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont (Can't Hardly Wait) co-wrote the screenplay with Adam Sztykiel, who previously had a writing credit for the 2001 MTV Movie Awards. Paul Weiland (Leonard Part 6) directed the film, in which the main character Tom (Patrick Dempsey, Enchanted) is a ladies' man who has made quite a bit of change through the years producing a product that people might not immediately recognize, but once you see it, you'll kick yourself for not thinking of it. He met Hannah (Michelle Monaghan, Mission: Impossible: III) a decade ago in college. She's remained the one constant in his life, even while he's wining, dining, and bedding every other girl in reach. Hannah works at a museum and goes to Scotland on a research trip for six weeks, and when she returns, she surprises Tom by telling him she's getting married. Tom decides he can't do without Hannah and wants to do what he can to make sure she's with him, even as he's named Maid of Honor; an unconventional move, to say the least.
It's nice to see Patrick Dempsey getting work. I mean to say that I liked watching Dempsey as a romantic lead growing up. He possesses an awkward charm that seemed to disappear on the landscape after 1992, but made a return with the television success that is Grey's Anatomy. But he's brought that awkward charm back, and it's refreshing to see. Pity this asset was wasted on such a dumb film.
You see, at its most basic, Made of Honor is supposed to endear you to what is a wholly deplorable incident. Come on, a guy who's part of a wedding party hooking up with the bride? Both of them should be shot, drawn and quartered, or fed to the wolves. And yet just because McDreamy is in this thing, we're supposed to fall in love. Hope that works out for everybody, because by attaching yourself to the film's premise, it quite poorly goes against a lot of what's supposed to transpire. If you want a Patrick Dempsey romantic comedy, watch the old school stuff. That's the only real reason to watch this movie anyway; any chemistry with Monaghan feels a bit forced, his supporting group of friends are nobodies, and the guy that Tom has to woo Hannah away from is a really nice guy, which doesn't make this any easier.
There are some flip sides to the film, but the main one is Busy Philipps (Freaks and Geeks). She plays Hannah's friend Melissa, who is jealous of Tom for occupying such a coveted position in a wedding that she should've helped coordinate. Honestly, I was kind of rooting for her and, to tell you the truth, she was the funniest thing going. Nobody else seems to really care that much about it.
Made of Honor comes to Blu-ray in a 2.40:1 widescreen presentation encoded with MPEG-4 that generally looks good. Blacks are fairly consistent and the image background depth really shines in the Scotland exterior shots. With that said, the image detail is a little inconsistent, the flesh tones appear to sport a white push, and certain character shots have some haloing. Combine that with a Dolby TrueHD track that is wasted by the film's dialogue-driven nature, and all in all Made of Honor seems to not be up to the next-generation standard that many would enjoy.
The supplements are also underwhelming. Weiland provides a commentary that, after listening to it, really isn't all that inspiring. He talks about some of the casting decisions and recalls some tidbits on the production. The style and shot intent are covered, along with location memories. It's pretty much the usual stuff, aside from a bit of information where supporting actor Kadeem Harrison (Renaissance Man) would have salt in his hands before every shot, for whatever reason. A making of piece (12:54) is next, which includes some interviews with the cast and crew, but doesn't cover too much of anything, while "Three Weddings and a Skyline" (6:49) touches on the production and set design for the weddings. Two deleted scenes (3:14) are the last thing to speak of on this BD-Live enabled disc.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
It's a shame that this was Sydney Pollack's last acting role, dying several weeks after the film's release. The director, who provided outstanding performances in Tootsie and Eyes Wide Shut, has created some of the more memorable films in the last three decades. But in Made of Honor, he's the cookie cutter version of a role where the character is fairly haphazard but quite the fun guy, managing to provide a nugget of wisdom that helps set Tom on his revelatory quest to follow his heart. I wish he could have ended his career on a better note, but we don't all get that luxury. Take care of yourself Sydney. See you on the other side.
Made of Honor might be interesting on the surface, but it doesn't really rise past that. If you saw the trailer, you probably made the decision on seeing this a long time ago, since it gives away the store. And seeing the film isn't going to change many minds either. I'd like to remember folks like Dempsey and Pollack for what they did over the course of their careers, rather than what they did in this film, but both of them had their best work a few years ago. You know the drill by now, Made of Honor simply isn't worth the time or effort.
Guilty as charged.
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Scales of Justice
• Commentary with Director Paul Weiland
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