Romantic comedy is a gender-flipping retread of an old idea.
In Columbia Pictures' "Made of Honor," when Tom's (Patrick Dempsey, left) best friend, Hannah (Michelle Monaghan, center), gets engaged to Colin (Kevin McKidd), she asks Tom to be her maid of honor. Tom accepts - but only so he can woo the bride-to-be and attempt to stop the wedding before it's too late.
Does anyone ever demand a refund for a romantic comedy that looks awfully familiar? Let's hope not, or the folks behind "Made of Honor" -- essentially the same plot as 1997's "My Best Friend's Wedding," but with a gender twist -- will have to do some serious reimbursement.
Patrick Dempsey, owner of the most intriguingly crooked nose east of Owen Wilson, plays Tom, a New York City rogue who beds every nubile woman in town, except for Hannah (Michelle Monaghan), his best friend since college.
They are kindred spirits who spend lazy Sundays shopping for antiques and debating about the best pastries at Manhattan's top bakery. They're both attractive and funny and utterly honest with each other. And because each has the other on a high pedestal, they've kept it platonic for a decade.
They have kooky backgrounds. He is the rich, carefree inventor of the cardboard coffee-cup cozy stocked at every coffee shop. She is an art restorer, cleaning the private parts of a male nude when we first encounter her at work. But essentially they're the Standard Cute Couple Kept Apart by Plot Contrivances.
When Hannah leaves for an extended stay in Scotland, Tom realizes how important she is to him, stunning his basketball buddies with his vow to propose when she returns. In true Standard-Cute-Couple-Kept-Apart fashion, she meets Tom for dinner with her new fiancé, Colin, a handsome, wealthy and athletic Scottish duke. Tom literally pratfalls in dismay, knocking over a passing waiter and scattering arugula to the four winds. Subtle reactions are illegal in a film like this. The comedy is so weak that it has to be broad.
Tom's efforts to undermine the wedding ceremony by exposing Colin's weaknesses boomerang, as the Scot proves more athletic and accomplished at every turn. But there is a last-minute rush to the wedding chapel to halt the ceremony, as we knew there must be, and Tom bursts into the aisle precisely as the minister intones "or forever hold your peace." Just as we knew he would.
The film is uninspired from the nonsense pun of the title to the final credits. It doesn't promise much, and scarcely delivers on that.
Colin Covert • 612-673-7186