Given the current dearth of movie options, I opted for a movie I passed on
when the distributor sent me free press passes. I was reticent to see Julia
Roberts in anything, as she hasn't really done anything of much interest in quite some time. My Best Friend's Wedding was showing at Canal Place, always a good theatre for mid-afternoon film screenings, and it was showing at the right time, just after 2:00 pm. Oddly, I wasn't disappointed in the least with the movie. It is a variation on the screwball comedies of old. The movie has over-the-top characters and a wonderfully farcical plot twist. I found the characters well developed and believable. The plot twists are absolutely not believable, but that's rather the point of the screwball comedy.
Julia Roberts plays Julianne Potter, a food critic of some renown, who is very competitive, focused, and driven. When she gets a phone call from her best friend Michael O'Neal (Dermot Mulroney), just three weeks shy of her twenty-eighth birthday, she assumes that he is calling to make good on a pact they had made some years earlier to marry one another if they were not married by the age of twenty-eight. When she finds out that the purpose of his call is to ask her to come to his wedding she goes into a tailspin. This very competitive woman has decided that she is in love with her best friend of nine years, and must have him for herself. She accepts his invitation and heads off to head off a wedding.
Jules, as Julianne is known, is met at the airport by Michael and his intended Kimmy (Cameron Diaz). Kimmy is sweet, well-bred, and for all her upscale charm, quite perceptive. She is immediately taken with Jules and asks her to be her maid-of-honor. Jules, relying on the old adage that it is best to keep one's friends close and one's enemies closer, accepts. So Jules uses her position as new best friend of the bride to manipulate and maneuver all of the characters in an attempt to win back Michael. When her outrageous schemes do not work she calls in George Downes (Rupert Everett), her editor and current best friend. George is of the belief that Jules should simply come clean to Michael and tell him that she loves him. She opts for the more entertaining lie that she and George are engaged to be married, which is wonderfully ironic in that George is gay.
Jules continues to work her schemes, one failing as quickly as the next. When finally we come to the day of the wedding, Jules knows that the only option she has left is the truth. She tells Michael and the climactic end of the movie begins.
Some of the reviews I've read have found the ending improbable. I say it is completely probable. Jules and Michael are two people who love one another, which means they are forgiving of almost anything. Kimmy, with her well-bred nature is perfectly believable, if annoyingly sweet, about all the shenanigans. George, as the only character in the entire film who has his head attached properly, is the long suffering but deeply loving friend to the end. All is well that ends well, as it should be with screwball comedy.
The soundtrack to this movie is wonderful. The visuals are entrancing, and I have to say, Chicago should look so good. I enjoyed the movie immensely, with the exception of the introduction of Kimmy's two cousins from Nashville, Amanda and Samantha Newhouse (Carrie Preston, and Rachel Griffiths, respectively). They were a bit of fluff tossed into the mix for no particular reason, other than that they were trampy and used for a bit of sexual levity that wasn't needed. All in all this is a nice piece of light comedy that leaves you believing in the true beauty of human nature.