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Reviewed August 20th, 2001 by David Nusair


The key to making a romantic comedy such as The Wedding Planner - not that this is even much of a comedy - is ensuring that there are as many diverting sub-plots as possible. This is so that, even though the audience knows right from the start the two leads will wind up with each other, boredom will not set in too quickly. But The Wedding Planner, starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Lopez, is essentially devoid of sub-plots, choosing instead to rely on the charm of its leads to propel the picture forward. It doesn't work, though.

Lopez stars as, of course, a wedding planner named Mary. She seems to have a perfect life - she's the best at what she does - but has never been lucky in love. That changes, though, when she's saved from being killed by a runaway garbage bin (yes, really) by Steve (McConaughey), the most charming pediatrician since ER's Dr. Ross. But in a twist that could only occur in a movie this lame, it turns out that Steve is to be married to Fran (Bridgette Wilson) and Mary has been commissioned to plan their wedding. The rest of this entirely-too-long movie is merely an exercise in obfuscation and misdirection, which is necessary to prevent Mary and Steve from hooking up five minutes before the movie ends.

The Wedding Planner doesn't have a single original idea within. The script recycles every cliché you could possibly imagine (and then some). And, as if that wasn't bad enough, the film is just plain old dull. Nothing of any interest happens during the 104 minute running time. We already know that Lopez and McConaughey are going to get together before the movie ends (and if this spoils the movie for you, it's time to get a new hobby), so every single scene that comes before the big kiss is just a waste of time. There are a few good character actors in supporting roles (Kevin Pollack, Alex Rocco), but they're completely wasted.

All of that would have been acceptable had the movie at least been entertaining (which it most certainly is not).

Audio: Presented in DD 5.1 surround, this track sounds very nice. There's a lot of music to be heard throughout, and it never sounds too obtrusive. Directional effects are minimal, so this certainly isn't one for showing off. There's also a 2.0 track (which is the default, for some odd reason).

Video: The Wedding Planner's 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer is similarily quite nice. Colors are sharp and distinct, while dark areas are always crisp. This is a movie with a lot of colors (in the scenery, clothes, etc) and this is a transfer up to the challenge.

Extras: First up is a commentary track with director Adam Shankman and screenwriters Michael Ellis and Pamela Falk. This track is actually more entertaining than the film itself, mostly due to the enthusiasm of the participants. It's also an informative one, with everything from casting to location scouting being discussed. Next up is a pathetic little featurette which runs less than four minutes. This is basically the routine let's-watch-the-stars-talk-about-what-a-great-time-they-had sort of affair. That's followed by another short featurette about the dancing and horse riding that's seen in the film. Next are seven deleted scenes which are just about as boring as the movie itself (and are also accompanied by commentary). Finally, there's the trailer, along with trailers for U Turn, Anaconda and My Best Friend's Wedding.

Conclusion: The Wedding Planner is about as bland and generic as you could possibly get.


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