Eric D. Snider

Made of Honor

Movie Review

Made of Honor

by Eric D. Snider

Grade: D-

Released: May 2, 2008

 

Directed by:

Cast:

"Made of Honor" is a terrible romantic comedy, and heaven knows I don't go into romantic comedies with high expectations. The best I can usually hope for is a few funny lines, some charming performances, maybe a slight twist on the usual formula. "Made of Honor" fails in each of those categories, and then some. "Made of Honor" is made of failure.

Set in New York (obviously), it's about an inveterate womanizer named Tom (Patrick Dempsey) whose platonic best friend, Hannah (Michelle Monaghan), has just returned from an extended business trip to Scotland with a fiance! His name is Colin (Kevin McKidd) and he is perfect, but while Hannah was gone, Tom realized something: He's in love with her.

Too late now, you think; she's marrying somebody else. But Tom does not think the same way you do. Tom is a self-centered a-hole. Strangely, the movie expects us to find him rakishly charming, even though "self-centered a-hole" is clearly the more apt description. When Hannah asks him to be her "maid of honor," he agrees -- only so he can break up the wedding from the inside. Spend more time with her, learn more about Colin, and drive a wedge between them. In the process, he'll prove he's a changed man, more responsible, more willing to commit. Oh, yeah, and convince her not to marry the man she loves, too, but who cares about that? The important thing is for Tom to get what Tom wants.

Does the whole scenario sound strangely familiar, like maybe you saw it in a movie called "My Best Friend's Wedding," only with the genders reversed? Yes, yes indeed. That film even starred Dermot Mulroney, who scientists believe is the same person as Patrick Dempsey. (They're both the same person as Dylan McDermott, too, but that's not relevant here.) It was amusing to see Dempsey and producer Neal Moritz dance around the comparison in Entertainment Weekly recently. Moritz said, "We couldn't do 'My Best Friend's Wedding' again, but we could do the reverse of it." (Translation: "We think reversing the genders makes it a totally different movie, even though it plainly does not.") And Dempsey resorted to vague actor-speak: "We knew we were going to get that comparison, and we tried to work against that, in a sense. You didn't want to hit the same beats." ("Hit the same beats"? Translation: "It's the same &#@*! movie.")

The early scenes of Tom and Hannah palling around town are punctuated by grating character-establishing shorthand. Tom has all these "rules" to help him avoid commitment (never sleep with the same woman two nights in a row, never attend a family function, never let a woman into his apartment, etc.), and he and Hannah talk about the rules incessantly. They also talk incessantly about his reluctance to say "I love you," and about their aren't-we-such-cute-best-friends habit of choosing one another's desserts.

What these scenes mostly establish is that neither Tom nor Hannah is recognizable as a real person. He's independently wealthy for having invented those cardboard sleeves that go around paper coffee cups (i.e., the script was too lazy to give him a job); she's an art restorer for a museum. His personality consists entirely of his stupid rules and a bunch of screenwriter-contrived personality quirks; her personality consists entirely of ... um ... of being Tom's best friend. That's about it. (The script is by a first-timer named Adam Sztykiel, with rewrites by the team of Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, previously responsible for "Surviving Christmas" and "Josie and the Pussycats." The director is Paul Weiland, still infamous for "Leonard Part 6.")

There are three possible ways that the story can play out, and we might be getting into "spoiler" territory here (if a film as predictable as this one can truly be said to have "spoilers"). One option is for Tom to finally confess his love but for Hannah to marry Colin anyway. One is for Tom to keep silent about his love and/or realize Hannah's not right for him after all. And one is for Tom to finally confess his love and for Hannah to throw her fiance aside and marry Tom instead.

One of those scenarios is clearly a great deal less realistic, plausible, and deserved than the others. Clearly if Tom waited until Hannah's very wedding day -- until she is actually standing at the altar -- to finally confess his love for her, it would absolutely serve him right for her to flat-out reject him. Clearly a finale in which Hannah dumps her fiance -- the man who's perfect for her and whom she loves -- in favor of flaky, procrastinating, self-absorbed Tom ... well, clearly an ending like that would be an outrageously unfair cop-out. We would be angry if a film tried to pass off that ending as the natural, logical conclusion to this story.

If that's the ending the film uses, I mean. I'm not saying it is, and I'm not saying it isn't.

Oh, but also: If Hannah were going to switch to Tom on a whim like that, and if the film wanted to make it look like Colin wasn't right for her anyway, we would not accept "refusing to share his desserts with her" as legitimate evidence of that. I'm just sayin'.

Finally, for a movie targeted exclusively at women, it sure doesn't treat any of its female characters well. Hannah has no personality, no life apart from Tom, and she bases her decisions exclusively on what Tom wants. Various women throw themselves shamelessly at super-stud Tom, pleased to be nothing more than one-night stands. One of Hannah's bridesmaids (Busy Philipps) hates Tom except when she gets drunk and jumps his bones. Another one (Emily Nelson) is overweight but determined to squeeze into that size-8 bridesmaid's dress even if it kills her. Hannah's grandmother cluelessly wears a sex toy as a fashion accessory. A creepy young woman stalks Tom and writes a blog about him. Tom's dad (Sydney Pollack, a welcome sight no matter what) is currently on his sixth gold-digging trophy wife. Tom's friends encourage him to break up Hannah's wedding, chanting "Steal the bride! Steal the bride!" as they send him off. I don't like to throw around the word "misogynist," but this movie feels like it was made by people who hate women. Probably not a good move, considering women will comprise 90 percent of its audience.

No chemistry, no sparks, no laughs. A story that's recycled, inane, and unbelievable. A preposterously lazy finale. Yep, all the components are there for this to be the worst romantic comedy of the year. Mazel tov!

Grade: D-

Rated PG-13, a little profanity, some vulgarity and sexual innuendo

1 hr., 41 min.

Stumble It!

This item has 19 comments

  1. Rob D. says:

    Loved your review Eric. I did not see the movie and don't plan on it. When I saw in the previews that he had to ride a horse to break up the wedding at the last minute, I knew this would be horrible. I love the part in your review when you talk about the reason she dumped he fiance (even though you didn't want to spoil it by saying she might or might not have). Not being willing to share his desserts with her is not a good reason, lol. Is that really what they wanted us to believe? There is no reason for a movie like this to have a spoiler warning. Just by seeing the full trailer in the movie theatre will spoil the entire movie for anyone who has seen a romantic "comedy" before.

  2. mommy says:

    Is it wrong that I'm glad their was a horrible movie for you to review?

  3. Byrd Dawg says:

    But ERIC! People worked hard on that movie! I'm sure if you realized that, you would NEVER have said those mean things about it.

  4. Amp says:

    I'm glad scientist have confirmed my theory that Dermot Mulroney, Patrick Dempsey, and Dylan McDermott, are all the same person.

  5. Clean Slate says:

    I have to admit, even though I am someone who usually ignores what you say about romantic comedies and enjoys the genre immensely, I agree with your review. I saw it this weekend only because a friend really wanted to see it. My Best Friend's Wedding was much better.

  6. Dermot Mulroney says:

    Rumors that I am Dylan McDermott have been greatly exaggerated.

  7. Kaydria says:

    My Best Friend's Wedding is the only romantic comedy/chick flick I can stand watching. The premise of this movie is personally offensive to me. I believe the only reason I like MBFW as much as I do is because of the ending.

  8. Dylan McDermott says:

    Just because scientists have never seen Dermot Mulroney and me in the same room at the same time doesn't necessarily mean we're the same person. It's like The Parent Trap, people.

  9. Hugh Grant says:

    Wait, didn't I do this movie with Julia Roberts a few years ago? Just checking...thanks...

  10. AWOL says:

    I'm not really a fan of the over used plot lines of romantic comedies but their one saving grace has always been that the wrong guy always turns out to be a real a-hole in the end (the kind that kicks puppies, scares old people, etc). There were no such character flaws in Colin. Sad but true that the worst thing we can say about Colin is that he won't share his dessert (how dare he?!). I agree with Eric that this was simply lazy writing. If only Colin had made fun of orphans, or gave out toothbrushes at Halloween then we could have hated him.

  11. Mad Monkey says:

    You guys didn't watch the secret alternate ending, where Colin removes his mask and turns out to be Zombie Hitler.

  12. Neon says:

    Bummer! I'm just about to see this movie...time to call in sick!

  13. glad im not wasting my time says:

    glad i read this i was going to see it, im glad i didnt waste my time or money

  14. Matt says:

    I found myself trying to laugh because there were so few opportunities. I also found that I simultaneously loathed and liked Tom in certain parts of the movie, but on the whole, his character was so unrealistic and horrible that I waked away very disappointed with the ending.

  15. KME says:

    Cute movie, but the sex toy scene was totally out of place! Definitely not a good moment as I was sitting between my 70 year old Mom and my 13 year old daughter!

  16. Is says:

    Here I am, some girl who actually quite likes romantic comedies [I know, SHOCKER, right?].

    Well, with that, and my love for unrealistic movies, this one was basically offensive.

    Horrible. I actually hated this movie [or, still hate]. I mean, I managed to like "What Happens in Vegas" [ASHTON KUTCHER'S IN IT. AND I LIKED IT. That's slightly depressing.].

    And so I concur. It was a horrific movie.

  17. Scottish American says:

    This is a fine review, but you missed a few things. First, there were actually -- some-where -- a (very) few some-what funny moments. Second, the actors who played Tom and his father really looked like son and father. What I found worst about this movie (I haven't seen MBFW, so I can't comment on any-thing having to do with that movie) is the way the protagonist, who is a really rotten character, wins in the end.* is supposed to be likeable.

    Actually, there were some decent things in the movie. The scenes of Scotland were lovely. The colors in general were well done. The camera stayed in focus (if some-times too hectic). The music was effective (unfairly so).

    *Well, we're supposed to think he wins, but considering what little we know of his bride, it's hard to say.

  18. Dm says:

    Watched this movie this night by my gf's suggestion. Every, just every tiny piece of it was predictable (this makes me now, thinking of it, feel pity for the wasted time). He's gonna confess to her and buys flowers - you know what happens next. He tries to impress - there'll be a flop. And so on, it doesn't merit mentioning.

  19. Tim says:

    This didn't warrant an F'?!?

    Oh yeah, Linsay Lohan wasn't in the cast. My bad.

Subscription Center

Eric D. Snider's "Snide Remarks"

This is to join the mailing list for Eric's weekly humor column, "Snide Remarks." For more information, go here.

Subscribe

Eric D. Snider's "In the Dark"

This is to join the mailing list for Eric's weekly movie-review e-zine. For more information on it, go here.

Subscribe
 
Come read about baseball and web development at www.jeffjsnider.com | Diamond Clarity Chart