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Movie Review

Rupert Everett in 'Wedding:' Here comes the star

movie still June 24, 1997
Web posted at: 11:21 p.m. EDT (0321 GMT)

From Movie Reviewer Carol Buckland

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Although 'My Best Friend's Wedding' takes a decidedly skewed look at love in the '90s, it's likely to become the designated date movie of the summer.

This is partly because there's not much competition in that category and partly because the flick is enjoyably, fluffy fun.

'My Best Friend's Wedding' movie clip
video icon 2.6M/1 min. 9 sec. QuickTime movie

'My Best Friend's Wedding' movie trailer
video icon 5.3M/2 min. 18 sec. QuickTime movie

As anyone who's seen the trailer for the movie knows, Julia Roberts plays a woman who is stunned to learn that her ex-boyfriend-turned-buddy (Dermot Mulroney) is getting married.

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Roberts, who has a longtime phobia to commitment, suddenly develops the urge to merge with Mulroney, and sets out to stop the wedding.

To do this, she uses a series of underhanded and increasingly mean-spirited tactics against Mulroney's beloved (Cameron Diaz). She is aided and abetted by her suavely insightful and out-of-the-closet boss, George (Rupert Everett).

Roberts is back in her crowd-pleasing mode here, sporting a mane of red hair and her trademark mix of radiance and vulnerability. Although she's not a very deep actress, she lights up the screen. There are few performers who could behave as nastily as she does in this movie and still retain the audience's sympathy.

Just as some folks confuse Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary Louise Parker and Sara Jessica Parker, I have always had a tendency to mix up Dermot Mulroney and Dylan McDermott. What can I say? They are very generic-style dudes.

Mulroney's a dud, but Everett shines

Mulroney does nothing to distinguish himself in this film. He's appealing, in a lovable lug kind of way, but he has zilch chemistry with Roberts.

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He fares better with Diaz who, as Kimmy, endows her "irritatingly perfect" character with sweetness and smarts. She also shines when she finally gets a chance to blast her rival for her attempts to steal the groom.

The best thing about this movie is Rupert Everett. He enhances every scene he's in, leaving the audience laughing and wanting more. Everett, who is openly gay, plays his part on multiple levels. He acts out stereotypes -- both gay and straight -- with great panache. His one-on-one scenes with Roberts are a treat.

Screenwriter Ronald Bass' script is uneven. There are some terrifically witty lines (several, one suspects, ad-libbed by Everett) and some really clever situations.

But there also is lots of unnecessary crudeness. It seems filmmakers feel they have to "dumb down" the sophistication of classic screwball comedies to attract a contemporary audience.

As he proved with "Muriel's Wedding," director P.J. Hogan has an interestingly off-kilter way of looking at the world.

Although he stages most of the scenes in a straightforward way for "Friend's Wedding," there are some charming, offbeat touches here. One wishes he'd mined some of the story's kinkier subtexts a bit more, but hey ... this is a commercial-minded flick.

"My Best Friend's Wedding" was No. 2 at the box office in its first weekend of release. Although it's likely to be blown out by pending "event" movies like "Men in Black," it should have good word-of-mouth reviews and do solid business throughout the next several weeks.

This movie is rated PG-13. That's for language (including the dreaded F-word, uttered by Roberts), sexual innuendo and a mild bit of substance abuse (inhaling helium).


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