“A long line of Athels”
The most I can ask for when sitting down to watch a romantic comedy as obvious and clichéd as Made of Honor is to be entertained. Going in I knew there was no way it could wow me, but I did see a glimmer of potential. After the credits rolled, I must admit, I thought to myself that I wouldn’t mind checking it out again in the future if the opportunity presented itself. That said, don’t go thinking I’m going to go buy the dvd or rent it and invite some friends over, but if I’m ever out and whomever I am with suggests watching this movie they just got that they’ve been dying to see, I’d be more than happy to oblige. The leads are very likeable, the quirky side roles are a lot of fun, and the antics, while sometimes dry, deliver the goods, creating a tale of love that ends up being a quite sweet. Has cute become a pejorative of late—more belittling than complimentary? I don’t know. However, if I were asked to describe this story of best friends caught in a love triangle when the one waiting finds another just as the second discovers his true feelings for her, I’d say it was cute.
The story is so generic that one must shudder at the possibility for utter failure, boredom, and want of your hard earned cash back from the person who dragged you out to see this drivel. If anyone thinks that maybe these two won’t get together at the end, you are living in one freaky world or off your medication. No one goes to see a romance of this ilk to be intellectually stimulated or surprised by some profound insight on love and heartbreak. We as an audience go to lap up the sentimentality to feel warm and fuzzy as true love works out before our eyes, hoping that we may too find that glorious state of bliss. Just the character of Colin McMurray shows this fact to full capacity. This Scottish gentleman is the epitome of a dream: handsome, strong, sensitive, loving, royalty, and a European accent…who could resist? As our lead female says, he is the perfect man, and that is exactly what we need pitted against our hero, Tom, a lothario with no scruples when it comes to women except for the one he doesn’t let become intimate with him. If we are going to see someone overcome the odds to be with the one he truly loves, it is only right to have Mount Everest stand between them.
I will admit that the preposterous idea of a man being someone’s maid of honor is just crazy enough to work. The situations that it allows are perfectly suited to the filmmakers’ needs. By being thrust into a feminine role, our lead must accept his feelings and become a better man all while those on the periphery absolutely think he must be gay. It is ripe for comedy and brings some nice laughs to carry us through to the wedding at the end. The idea of that wedding also allows for two groups of friends to exist in creating both hijinks and moments of clarity. With the wedding party on one hand—consisting of three women who wish they were the maid of honor—and the boys on the other—supplementing their weekly pick-up basketball games with putting together party favors for the wedding shower—we are given the viewpoints of those jealous of the bride’s luck at finding a rich man overseas and the men trying to help their friend “steal the bride.” All the jabs by Tom’s friends are funny because the whole ordeal is just absurd. They do gather around him, though, to help his cause and all use their experiences with women to add insight into his. It was nice to see Kadeem Hardison make a return to the industry after a hiatus into obscurity following “A Different World.”
Adding to Hardison, the rest of the cast is very good. The role of the Scot is wonderfully played by Kevin McKidd; great as the new guy to America, his ability to be cool without trying is a great foil to Tom’s trying so hard to be cooler. McKidd’s sheer glee at finding out he can dunk the basketball without recourse of being a cheater is fantastic as he goes from chump to champ. He does everything so easily and unassumingly, one can’t help but love the guy while also being so jealous you wish he were dead. Rounding out the supporting cast are two stalwarts of the industry, Sydney Pollack and Kathleen Quinlan. At first glimpse I shook my head that they would accept such thankless roles in a somewhat thankless film, however, they both come out nicely. As parents, they serve as a mirror to their respective child, whether it shedding light on where they should be or where they should not, both do their job well.
It is all about the stars in the end, though. The chemistry between Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan is noticeable, especially in an early scene at his father’s wedding. The moment of full emotion while dancing is so real that it is made more tragic by his flippant disregard of her once the woman he was avoiding had left. Besides the opening sequence, (10 years previous to the bulk of the film), where it’s just kind of funny looking at them as college students, they never make a misstep, nor should they since the script won’t necessarily allow them to as it has a mission and they are unable to stray. You can tell in many instances that the two are having fun, (the juggling scene comes to mind), and you really do pull for them to finally come together. Dempsey is slowly becoming the go-to-guy for romantic leads on the uphill climb for their true love, and after this and Enchanted, I have to say that he may deserve the opportunity to resurrect his film career, because thus far he is pulling it off.
Made of Honor 5/10 | ★ ★
 Patrick Dempsey as Tom and Michelle Monaghan as Hannah in Columbia Pictures’ Made of Honor (2008). Photo credit: Peter Iovino. Copyright © Columbia Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
 Patrick Dempsey as Tom, Michelle Monaghan as Hannah and Kevin McKidd as Colin in Columbia Pictures’ Made of Honor (2008). Photo credit: Peter Iovino. Copyright © Columbia Pictures. All Rights Reserved.