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On June 20, 1997, Julia Roberts brought My Best Friend’s Wedding to theaters, where it would become a summer box-office smash. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below.
Julia Roberts doesn’t walk down the aisle in My Best Friend’s Wedding, but she’ll sure leave plenty of box-office bouquets for Sony in this mainstream romancer. A bittersweet, modern-love morsel, this scrumptious drama should touch moviegoers’ hearts in this action gorged summer.
As most guys will attest, today’s woman doesn’t really know what she wants, and this is certainly the case with Julianne (Roberts), who has been fickle in love and charted a heady course of serial relationships. But she’s approaching 28, and she pacted with Michael (Dermot Mulroney) that if they ever got this far up in years, they’d marry each other.
Well, Michael has found someone else: The new woman (Cameron Diaz) is beautiful, brainy and sweet. Best yet, dear old dad is a filthy-rich sports mogul. Not so surprisingly, Julianne is dumbfounded by Michael’s engagement and shatteringly jealous. She sets out to win him back but, alas, she only has four days until the wedding. As a longtime girlfriend, Julianne has certain advantages: She knows how to play Michael’s numbers, and she’s not above some rather brazen deceits.
While her guiles and wiles are amusing, it’s at this point that Ronald Bass’ screenplay takes some unfortunate missteps; namely, we don’t know who to root for. Do we want Julianne to get back together with her beau, or do we want him to marry the delectable woman who has said “yes” to his proposal? In this day of commitment-phobe relationships, this is, perhaps, a credible quandary, but it’s one that offers up no easy romantic resolutions. Should we root for Julianne to quash a wonderful woman’s marriage? Not necessarily.
While the plot line has some unsettling pitfalls, this contemporary comedy sparkles with some shrewd insights into the pitfalls of women who are too sophisticated for their own good. My Best Friend’s Wedding is a generally adorable story potion, albeit not blessed with the classic bone structure that one might hope. In general, Bass’ scenario is kind and fair-minded, and while it doesn’t wind up in the grand tradition of romantic comedy, it’s an overall pleasing morsel. Special credit to director P.J. Hogan for drenching this wedding in the most sumptuous technical delectations.
Roberts’ performance as the scattered Julianne is completely winning. She brings a credible, conflicted nature to her performance, which makes it particularly endearing. But as Roberts’ special beau, Mulroney is disappointingly dowdy. — Duane Byrge, originally published on June 11, 1997
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