My Best Friend's Wedding - Rated - TEPID

There's a scene in My Best Friend's Wedding which involves an ice sculpture of Michaelangelo's David. I thought this movie was a lot like an ice sculpture - decorative, initially impressive, but after a while... nothing at all. I thought I'd better write this review straight away or I'd forget the movie before I got my impressions down.

My impressions: well, first and foremost: teeth. Acres and acres of perfect teeth. Julia Roberts' teeth are as awesome as ever (even though she smokes a bit in the film - the horror!). Then we have the incredibly perfect-looking Cameron Diaz as the bride-to-be. Her teeth are, of course, perfect, and just like pearls. The groom-to-be is played by Dermot Mulroney, who also has excellent teeth. Rachel Griffiths, the Australian actress who starred in Muriel's Wedding has a supporting role here. I seem to remember she has interestingly crooked (but nice) teeth. But now her teeth are perfect. And even Rupert Everett gives the impression that he has great teeth too - but that couldn't be true, because he's English.

I could go on in this vein about lips as well (this is a Julia Roberts movie - and Dermot Mulroney has the cutest scar on his upper lip), but you get the idea. The director, Australian PJ Hogan, seems to be absolutely in love with his very attractive cast - his camera is almost always down their throats.

It's strange - the things that I remember most about this film are the cosmetic things - the clothes, the makeup, the wedding decorations, the funny seafood-theme restaurant trappings, and the extras. There are lots of extras in this film, because there are lots of crowd scenes: airports, restaurants, a train station and wedding parties. And even though the extras come in all shapes, sizes, colours and ages, they all look like extras. They are all clean, well groomed, and well distributed through all demographic groups. But they are extras, not people.

Now you might think I'm being really picky, but my point is this: I didn't really believe anything in this film. I don't just mean I wasn't convinced that things would turn out OK - I never thought any of (I Love) Lucy's harebrained schemes would work out either. But I believed in Lucy. I knew she wasn't being mean or vindictive each week, when she did all the nutty and dishonest and hopelessly doomed things she did in order to achieve some ludicrous result, without Ricky finding out. I knew it would all come tumbling down around her. And I knew that things would turn out all right in the end. But with Julia, things just don't ring true. You don't ever....well, let's just say that Julia's no Lucille Ball.

But that Cameron she could very well be the new Lucy. I believed everything she said and did. And she seemed always to be on the verge of hysteria at the same time as being in complete control - much like Lucy really. I Love Cameron!

Rupert Everett is very funny too, giving comic support that rivals even Vivian Vance and William Frawley. He does some outrageous mugging, and he gets to deliver one of the greatest closing lines of recent cinematic memory. . But PJ Hogan spoils the effect by allowing Julia to finish with two or three full-on grins which are completely gratuitous. Yuk!

So there's lots of fun, but there are problems too. Major ones, like throwing away many of the visual jokes, and quite a few of the joke lines too because of poor comic timing. In the (very full) cinema I was in, many of the best jokes met with near silence. This is a real problem in a comedy! The Dionne Warwick songs are fun, but the rest of the film's score (by the increasingly-ubiquitous James Newton Howard) is irritating and predictable.

In summary, My Best Friend's Wedding is not a failure, but it's not a success either, by my standards. Still, see it anyway: we must support Australian directors.