The Wedding Planner Movie Review

Ah, welcome to San Francisco, the place I call home. It's a city of exorbitant housing costs where we're facing two years of electricity blackouts, and it's home to some of the most ridiculously magical romances ever conceived. (See also: The Bachelor.)

In what is either a sassy updating of the fable of marriage or a vicious lambasting of its sanctity, depending on your point of view, The Wedding Planner presents us with Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey as an unlikely pair who somehow manage to get together -- against all odds, of course.

Utterly absurd and hopelessly dated from its opening scenes (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras plays a millionaire who made her fortune by selling gourmet food on the Internet -- uh huh), The Wedding Planner borrows heavily from My Best Friend's Wedding without getting much of its humor. The tired story is predictable: Lopez's Italian(!), anal-retentive Mary (so particular that she alphabetizes the credit cards in her wallet) runs into Steve (McConaughey) on a San Francisco street, and soon they're whisked off to an impromptu date in Golden Gate Park. Oops -- l'il Stevie is about to get hitched to Fran (Wilson-Sampras), and Mary's been hired to plan the wedding!

Sounds like fun, no? Well, for short stretches of The Wedding Planner, it is. But for much longer stretches, the film is just plain stupid, consisting of ridiculous, random setups designed to get our star-crossed lovers intertwined, with an inevitable punch line to pay it all off. When Fran's family goes horseback riding (for some reason bringing Mary along on the trip), of course her horse is going to bolt and Steve will have to save her. When Fran leaves town for a week and Mary and Steve go shopping for statues(???), of course a stone penis is going to break off and get glued to Steve's hand. But the biggest insult has to be a truly wretched subplot, which has Mary's father (Alex Rocco) actually arranging a marriage for Mary with some schlub from back home.

Considering the source material, I'm not terribly surprised by any of this. Clearly intended as a vanity project and star vehicle for Jennifer Lopez to continue her climb through the ranks of Hollywood, the script is the first-produced film from writers Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis (feuding lovers themselves, how cute!), and the first major directorial work of Adam Shankman, best known for being a choreographer on more than 20 films, from Mission to Mars to Weekend at Bernies II. The movie screams amateurism because it really is the work of amateurs. That said, the cinematographer does manage to get Alcatraz, the Transamerica Pyramid, and many other S.F. landmarks in just about every shot -- nicely done!

Anyway, never mind that arranged marriage crack -- I have to say the biggest insult is actually that we're supposed to believe Matthew McConaughey is really having trouble choosing between Bridgette Wilson-Sampras and Jennifer Lopez. Wilson-Sampras is a fading B-lister with a pointy chin and a bad dye job who starred in Love Stinks. On the other hand, Lopez is a former Fly Girl and rising star with a nice chin, a good dye job, and a flawless ass the size of two overripe watermelons.

You do the math.

Coffee, tea, or Lopez?


The Wedding Planner Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, 2001


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