Movie #244 2020: My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

As far as forgettable rom-coms go, this one isn’t half best!

My Best Friend’s Wedding is the glaringly nineties classic that stars the ever popular Julia Roberts as bitchy, brash food critic, Julianne Potter. The ‘best friend’ in question here alludes to Dermot Mulroney‘s Michael, whom she has been in an entirely platonic relationship with for years. When she finds out that he is engaged to a young, pretty blonde named Kimberley (played by Cameron Diaz), she does everything she does to sabotage any wedding plans. In short, she realise her true feelings for Michael at the worst possible time, and that just so happens to mean that she likes him as more than just a friend.

I won’t lie, I was absolutely living to see Julia Roberts as a colossally spiteful bitch. I mean, it’s hardly something we’re used to seeing her as. Even in Pretty Woman as a sex worker, Roberts plays her character as having a heart of gold, with a smattering of ‘understood yet independent woman’ about her. In this though, she plays an almost entirely morally corrupt, selfish bitch, and it’s fun to see her portray someone that is usually mildly out of her wheelhouse.

Although I did have to look up the plot to this movie (it’s been one month now since I wrote my initial notes on it), which suggests that it is not exactly the most memorable film ever, I must admit that there is one sequence that will stick with me for a long time. The scene in question entails an entire breakfast restaurant full of diners burst into song. Whilst one character begins the song, the rest of the room gradually join in to belt out I Say A Little Prayer – the stuff of romantic comedy dreams. Best part of the movie without a shadow of a doubt.

As mentioned, the narrative is nothing particularly out of the ordinary. This is pretty much exactly the story of how every rom-com goes, and there’s very little in the way of a plot twist, but it’s still a fun watch. It would be unsurprising to hear that this was a favourite movie to a lot of people in 1997.

Roberts herself helms the film as graciously and expertly as any pre-conceived notion would suggest. Somehow though, Rupert Everett ended up being my favourite character; Julianne’s close, gay friend, with a quirky sense of humour. I did not expect that at all, but he brings a real comedic flair to the whole thing, and without him it could have been a much gloomier tale.

*Warning: Mild spoilers within the next paragraph!*

What this does differently to many other rom-coms of its time is how it concludes in a less than ‘happily ever after’ kind of way. For me, I was kind of glad it wasn’t cliche and obvious, however, that’s the most surprised by this movie that you’ll get. As previously stated, nothing jumps out as being overwhelmingly new here. Don’t expect it to pass even half of a Bechdel test either. 

You come to this movie and get what it says on the tin: it’s very, very nineties, but it’s well made enough that it holds up pretty well. This one comes with a cautious recommendation for mindless, easy to watch cinema from me.

My Best Friend’s Wedding is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

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