Rating: PG-13 (strong language and sex-related humor)
Length: 105 minutes
Release Date: June 20, 1997
Directed by: P.J. Hogan
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Stars: 3 out of 5
“My Best Friend’s Wedding” appears to be a typical romantic comedy, except for the unique twist at the end. Director P.J. Hogan brings together a stellar cast to produce a movie that many film experts claim made Julia Roberts’ career. Dermot Mulroney and Cameron Diaz also give fantastic performers; however, the plot largely revolves around Julianne Potter (played by Roberts) and her position in an awkward love triangle. While this may seem straightforward, the comedic elements added to the movie will give you plenty of laughs and help lighten the atmosphere. Many young women can relate to Roberts’ character’s feelings and the difficult choices that she must make. George Downes (played by Rupert Everett), who is Julianne’s boss and also happens to be gay, is incredibly funny and has several one-liners that will have you falling out of your chair.
The movie opens with a scene showing Julianne talking on the phone with her best friend, Michael O’Neil (played by Dermot Mulroney ). Julianne and Michael have known each other since their college days. In this distant past, the two made a pact that if neither of them had married by the time they reached twenty-eight years of age, they would marry each other. During this phone conversation, Julianne mentions to Michael that she is turning twenty-seven in only a few short weeks. However, Michael informs Julianne that he is going to marry a rich college girl, Kimberly Wallace (played by Diaz), from Chicago. Julianne seems perplexed as to why Michael would wait until she was about to turn twenty-eight and then marry an immature twenty-year-old woman. Added to this is the fact that Michael and his prospective bride have only known each other a few short months, while Julianne has known him for years.
After taking some time to reflect, Julianne decides that she is in love with Michael and devises a plan to get to Chicago to disrupt his wedding. After arriving just before the wedding, her plans are thrown into disarray after she is roped into the role of Kimberly’s maid of honor. Although not what she expected, Julianne decides that she will now be closer to the couple and will be able to wreak even more havoc than she had previously planned. Julianne uses a variety of tricks to try and prevent Michael’s and Kimberly’s impending nuptials from taking place. In one scene, Julianne discovers that Kimberly is a horrible singer, so she takes the pair out to karaoke in the hope that Michael will be put off by his future wife’s poor singing abilities.
When Julianne seems to run out of ideas to stop the wedding, her boss George arrives on the scene and tells her the most important piece of advice that she has received yet: inform Michael how she truly feels about him. On the morning of the wedding, Julianne professes her love to Michael when the two of them are supposedly alone, and they share a kiss. However, Kimberly is watching nearby, and she runs off in disgust that Michael could do such a thing to her on her wedding day. Julianne apologizes to Kimberly and tells her that Michael truly loves her and that Julianne and Michael are only old friends. That afternoon, the pair gets married and Julianne wishes Michael well in his new life. In the final scene, Julianne finally realizes that she is acting like a best friend for the first time in her life.
In an era when wedding-themed movies were common, “My Best Friend’s Wedding” stands out for being original and fresh. First, the lead actress does not marry the man of her dreams and instead realizes that he belongs with someone else. The critics’ reviews of Roberts’ performance were extremely positive, with some even going so far to say that the role reinvigorated her career. While Roberts did not win any major awards for her performance, she did receive multiple nominations, such as Best Female Performance at the MTV Movie Awards and Best Actress for a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globe Awards.
While “My Best Friend’s Wedding” may seem like the perfect chick flick, male viewers will also enjoy the movie. The plot is refreshingly light and hilarious, and also includes some particularly serious dialogue, which will keep the attention of audiences. “My Best Friend’s Wedding” is also a great first-date movie because of the friendship versus romantic love elements that are intertwined within the plot.