By Heather Baysa
By Amy Nicholson
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Amy Nicholson
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Simon Abrams
By Michelle Orange
By Alan Scherstuhl
In Made of Honor, Patrick Dempsey plays a conveniently rich and willfully single serial "fornicator" slowly but surely domesticated by his unspoken love for longtime BFF Hannah (Michelle Monaghan), who's on her way to Scotland to marry Mr. Right Now since Mr. Right's too chickenshit to say boo before her "I do." Which, come to think of it, not only sums up this movie, but more or less half of the films in which Dempsey starred between 1987 and 2003, when he was scheduled to headline a Fox TV series based on the film About a Boy with Dempsey in the Hugh Grant role of the conveniently rich and willfully single serial "fornicator" slowly but surely domesticated by his blah blah blah.
There's not an original thought in this movie's empty brain; it should only entertain those still getting adjusted to the idea of talkies.
The torture begins in 1998 at Cornell, where, we're supposed to believe, Dempsey (who turned 42 in January) and Monaghan (who turned 32 in March) are in the same class. Dempsey — wearing a Bill Clinton mask, under which he seems to have on a vaguely creepy-looking Young Patrick Dempsey mask — climbs into bed with Monaghan, thinking she's the "Monica" whose dress he's scheduled to stain that evening. Only not so much: She's the roomie and doesn't take kindly to being assaulted in the middle of the night by a well-known Big Misogynist on Campus. She chews him out good, then...cut to present-day New York City, where they're now the best of friends with no further explanation given or, apparently, necessary.
Dempsey's character, Tom, is a man of leisure who made his fortune creating coffee cuffs — you know, the cardboard sleeves that protect your fingers from getting burned? (If only there were such a thing as romantic-comedy cuffs.) His sole profession seems to be bed-hopping, for which Tom's created myriad rules, among them: No "back-to-backs," no taking dates to weddings or other family events, and no calling a woman within 24 hours of being given her phone number.
Director Paul Weiland and the three (!) screenwriters it took to boil down thousands of bad movies to 101 minutes do, at least, attempt to offer an explanation for why Tom's unable to commit: Turns out he has...ta-da!...Daddy issues. They're courtesy of a father (played by Sydney Pollack, who brings more grace and gravitas to the film than it deserves) who can't remember if he's on his sixth or seventh marriage.
Monaghan's Hannah, on the other hand, works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she restores masterpieces — for a good three seconds, at least, until she's whisked away to Scotland on business, where she meets hunky Colin (Kevin McKidd). At least, it appears they meet in Scotland: The film cuts away right before their meet-cute on a rainy, sheep-filled dirt road, where a man approaches on horseback in the distance while Hannah's in her car on her cell with Tom. Weiland, whose subtle touch to storytelling served him well when he worked on the Mr. Bean TV series, doesn't even allow Monaghan a reaction shot as she spies the heroic stranger; no smile, no glint in her eye, just a quick, hollow cut, print, that's a wrap.
And then and then and then: Weiland and his trio take us to all the expected places with all the familiar archetypes doing all the inevitable things people are supposed to do in movies featuring characters in a hurry to bust up their beloved's wedding to someone else. It never attempts, not once, to do anything other than push all the same buttons on the audience ATM.
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