It was the day before Valentine’s Day (we skipped the actual holiday for fear of low attendance, best laid plans of mice and men and all that) and Najwa decided that she was obligated to show a cutesy rom-com.  And so she went with the 1997 box office smash My Best Friend’s Wedding, directed by P.J. Hogan.

Before the film, it was pretty much obligatory to go with an MST3K short, and I went with what may have been the last remaining unshown short with a “love” theme – “Is This Love?”  Here it is, for those who may somehow have missed it:

 

Now that we know the answer to that most difficult of questions, let’s go on to the movie!

Don’t eat that, Trish, you’ve got a latex allergy!

The film opens with an incredibly cute title sequence, featuring a bride and three bridesmaids that we’ll never see again lip-synching to a sexy/breathy version of “Hopin’ and Wishin'” evidently sung by…Ani DiFranco?  Weird.  Also, a movie in 1997 having a standalone title sequence?  Weird.  But it’s very pink, and that should count for something, even if it’s only establishing the mood of the film.  And by that, I mean the mood of the film is one part Fatal Attraction, two parts confectioner’s sugar and food coloring.  Mix well, will sugar coat nine dozen minutes.

Most everyone’s mad here.  You may have noticed that I’m not all there myself.

The heroine antagonist of our story is named That Cheshire-Cat-Faced Character Played By Julia Roberts, whom we’ll call Julia Roberts for short.  Julia Roberts is a single, 27-year-old food critic in New York City.  The fact that she’s a food critic plays literally zero role in the film except to establish that her close relationship with her friend Very Gay Platonic Friend is normal and even expected, because he is also her editor.  It’s as if there’s really no reason to be friends with somebody like Very Gay Platonic Friend unless you have a previously-established business relationship with them.  It’s OK, guys!  They’re co-workers.  And don’t be confused, their intimate interactions throughout the film should not ever be mistaken to be a fourth vertex on a love quadrilateral.  This is a love TRIANGLE film, dammit, and don’t forget it.  Very Gay Platonic Friend is here for comic relief and very platonic plot points, and that’s it, I swear.

The heartbreak of Bell’s Palsy

Julia Roberts, of course, is very single because she has spent the last something like nine years being in love with her best friend, Boaty McCrookedface, with whom she had a brief fling oh so long ago before the inevitable breakup and plot point promise that they would get married at the age of 28 if they hadn’t found anybody else.  Well, Julia Roberts is on the verge of turning 28 when Boaty McCrookedface calls her up…to tell her he’s getting married to the girl of his dreams, and it’s not Julia Roberts.

Boy, was he ever surprised when it turned out to be Brett FAVRE!

Nope!  It’s Cameron Mary Poppins Diaz, the practically-perfect-in-every-way heiress to the Chicago White Sox fortune.  CMPD is cute, funny, smart, caring, adorable, trusting, adventurous, and just about everything that Julia Roberts is not.  Add to that the fact that she’s only 20, meaning she’s got a full eight more childbearing years than Julia and you can see why CMPD is the icing on this wedding cake.  Julia Roberts cannot have this, so she immediately hops a plane to Chicago to break up the wedding.

Where Cameron Mary Poppins Diaz immediately asks her only possible rival in the world to be her maid of honor in the first five minutes that she knows her.  That CMPD, she’s spunky-confident-trusting!  She’s Spunkifidentisting!  Julia Roberts, who is much more cynical and manipulative, immediately uses her newfound position of power to try to carry out her diabolical man-thieving plans, but they only turn out to backfire, continually making CMPD look just that much more endearing.

You made your threats/You’d tickle if I didn’t talk/You made me kiss you, kiss you on the mouth…BLECCH!

Indeed, when Very Gay Platonic Friend shows up out of the blue to tell Julia Roberts that she needs to just get that whole “Hey, Mr. Groom, I’ve been in love with you for nine years” thing off her chest, Julia instead decides to try to ply the jealousy route by introducing Very Gay Platonic Friend to everybody as her fiancé.  Very Gay Platonic Friend, as payback, decides to embrace the role, resulting in what has to be one of the most hilarious rehearsal dinners ever filmed.  So there is that.  And the jealousy thing maybe almost works, a little bit.  But not really.

The House That Paul Konerko Built

Julia Roberts’ final attempt to sabotage Cameron Mary Poppins Diaz’s life is particularly sinister.  Knowing that Boaty McCrookedface is a lowly sports beatwriter who does not want to give up his lowly peasant job to take a neposition in the Chicago White Sox front office, Julia Roberts sneaks onto CMPD’s father’s laptop and composes an email, ostensibly from the father of the bride, to Boaty McCrookedface’s boss urging the boss to let McCrookedface go so that he will consent to a job as a baseball executive.  (Pro tip: Ray…if someone asks you to became a major league baseball front office executive, you say YES!)  Now, she doesn’t actually send the email, because she has a tiny pang of conscience, but not enough of a pang of conscience to actually delete the email, which results in it getting accidentally sent anyhow.

This news, coming back to Boaty McCrookedface, causes him to decide to call off the wedding on the morning of because he believes that CMPD is trying to manipulate him.  Fortunately for our cinematic experience, McCrookedface doesn’t tell anybody of his change of heart except for CMPD and Julia Roberts, so there’s nothing really, you know, decided here.  And of course, he unchanges his mind again, because when you have a shot at marrying practically perfect in every way, you gotta jump on that ship even more quickly than jumping on an MLB front office job.

Tell me more, tell me more/Like does he have a car?

Well, in the middle of pretending (as maid of honor) to negotiate the continuance of the wedding as a liaison between the parties while in fact still working hard to sabotage the whole thing, Julia Roberts finally feels some spark of humanity and decides to confess the whole plan to Boaty McCrookedface.  Boaty is pretty angry about the whole thing, but she kisses him anyway, just in time for CMPD to witness the whole thing and run off, resulting in a high-speed stolen catering van race that strains credulity finer than the strawberry-mango puree on top of the lemon cake and vanilla bean ice cream napoleon that’s waiting on the reception dessert menu.

Julia finally finds CMPD in the ladies’ restroom at U.S. Cellular Field, which is a strange place for her to be, since I thought practical perfection in every way would at the very least obviate the baser scatological necessities.  Nonetheless, there she is, and Julia Roberts finally concedes Boaty McCrookedface to CMPD, and they all live happily ever after.  Well, Cameron Mary Poppins Diaz and Boaty McCrookedface live happily ever after.  Julia Roberts is consigned to some oddly joyful purgatory with Very Gay Platonic Friend, secure in the knowledge that someday she will have done enough penance for her sins to enter paradise.  The End.

Normally, I like to use the space after the movie review to say a few things about how I felt about the film, but I think I covered it pretty thoroughly in the review itself.  I will say that the scene in the U.S. Cellular ladies’ restroom shocked me, if only for the sheer population density of the place.  Frankly, I’ve never been in the ladies’ restroom at a baseball stadium, but somehow I figured one would be relatively empty due to the demographics of the baseball clientele.  But on the other hand, maybe the women congregate in there to avoid having to watch the game with their drunk-on-fifteen-dollar-american-lagers significant others.  Hmm.