'Made of Honor'

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You know from a song list that includes Smash Mouth, Lenny Kravitz and Kanye West that "Made of Honor" has something a bit edgier in mind than the usual, soft-focused wedding bell high jinks.

For the most part, that's exactly what it delivers — an amusing, smartly cast romantic comedy told from a guy's perspective. Given that the lead in question is none other than Dr. McDreamy himself, Patrick Dempsey, the Columbia Pictures release should perform honorably with its targeted female audience but perhaps not as strongly as Sony might like, considering that its competition comes in the form of an equally appealing Robert Downey Jr. in "Iron Man," opening the same day.

There's also the fact that male-centric rom-coms traditionally tend not to perform as strongly as those told from a female POV, but there's still much to appreciate here.

Dempsey takes full advantage of the chance to play things considerably faster and looser than he does on "Grey's Anatomy" in the role of Tom, a career dater who doesn't believe in going out with the same woman two nights in a row. He's a successful businessman — he invented those cardboard sleeves that go around hot takeout coffee cups — but an emotional cripple, which is why he's never been able to own up to his true feelings for his taken-for-granted best friend, Hannah (a sparkling Michelle Monaghan).

Absence makes the heart grow fonder when she goes off on a six-week business trip to Scotland. But just when Tom's about to spill his guts to her, she introduces him to her Highland fling-turned-fiance, Colin (Kevin McKidd), and asks Tom to be her maid of honor.

Tom proceeds to go through the usual machinations to prevent the marriage, and though the film grows more conventional in the process, there's sufficient pointed wit in this first script by Adam Sztykiel along with Deborah Kaplan & Harry Elfont and finely tuned comic timing in Englishman Paul Weiland's direction.

Even more refreshing is the fact that there's a tangible chemistry between Dempsey and Monaghan that makes it easy to root for them as the meant-to-be couple. Meanwhile, the always welcome Sydney Pollack makes the most of his few scenes as Dempsey's serial-marrying dad. Kathleen Quinlan does likewise as Monaghan's perceptive mom. (partialdiff)
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