The Wedding Planner


Directed by: Adam Shankman
Written by:Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Bridgette Wilson, Justin Chambers, Judy Greer, Kevin Pollak, Kathy Najimy
Released: March 29, 2001
Grade: B

It was obvious with ten minutes - women are going to love this movie.  We open with wedding planner "extraordinaire" Mary Fiore (Lopez) putting the final touches on another masterpiece.  Not a single detail has been unconsidered and every contingency has been allowed for.  She's one of the most respected planners in the business and brings in more money for the business than any other employee.

Mary wants to be made partner and puts an ultimatum to her boss Geri (Najimy).  There's an important wedding coming up involving Fran Donolly (Wilson) and her very wealthy parents are on the market for a wedding planner.  If Mary can get the job for the firm, Geri has reluctantly agreed to give her half of the business.

As talented as she is, you'd think Mary would be happily married herself but not so.  She lives alone, hasn't had a relationship in months and has her family and friends constantly trying to set her up.  Then, destiny steps in.  In an “only in the movies” moment, Mary finds herself on a road with a giant rubbish bin hurtling towards her.  In the last gasp, she is saved by a young gentleman but then passes out from shock.

When Mary awakes, she's in a hospital and the young man who saved her is looking down at her.  It turns out he's Dr Steve Edison (McConaughey) and destiny has seen them mutually attracted to each other.  They end up spending a romantic evening in a park dancing and watching classic movies.  Could this be the one?

It wouldn't be a script without drama and the dilemma soon presents itself.  It turns out that Fran is Steve's fiancé which creates the ultimate complication.  The man of her dreams is marrying her most important client.  Does she want to risk her career or is true love more important?

Some moments in The Wedding Planner left me cringing and most were provided by Jennifer Lopez.  She is a great actress and I feel she's better than roles like this so I hope to see her with juicier parts in the future.  The rest of the cast all have their quirks but the screenplay gives few a chance to shine - it is tacky.

In hindsight, it's the radiance of Lopez that puts the film a notch above similar romantic comedies.  Like Julia Roberts, her presence on screen is notable and gives any movie a boost.  The lavish weddings on show will leave women swooning - maybe more so than the romance between Lopez and McConaughey.  See it if you must but expect few surprises.