DID “THE WEDDING PLANNER” FLUNK CHEMISTRY?

THE CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: L. Maggie Driscoll (criticdoctor.com), Michæl Dequina (filmthreat.com), Steve Rhodes (internetreviews.com), Ross Anthony (rossanthony.com), Andrew O’Hehir (salon.com), Tim Cogshell (boxoffice.com), Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), Rob Blackwelder (splicedwire.com), Carrie Rickey (Philadelphia Inquirer), Tony Toscano (KJZZ-TV) and Eric Harrison (Houston Chronicle).
* out of 4 stars (PG-13)
“The Wedding Planner” is a romantic comedy that is sadly not romantic. And even sadder, some movie critics liked it so much they’d probably throw rice on you when leaving the theater.
“The Wedding Planner” is a movie about (you guessed it!) a wedding planner – conveniently named Mary (Jennifer Lopez) who falls in love with Steve (Matthew McConaughey). The film begins with an impressive performance by Lopez playing a driven, professional woman on a mission to create the perfect wedding for couples “tying the knot.” Ironically, the film becomes one big knot – or should I say one big “NOT!”
L. Maggie Driscoll (criticdoctor.com) comments on Lopez and McConaughey, “I was hoping that his presence, and the efforts of the multi talented Jennifer Lopez, would suffice to carry an often-repeated movie theme to a pleasant conclusion. It did not work for me.”
How movie critics found romantic chemistry in this movie, I don’t know:
– “The pair also click as a couple.” Michæl Dequina (filmthreat.com)- “They create sparks on the screen even though their relationship is confined to a single kiss.” Steve Rhodes (internetreviews.com)
– “Lopez and McConaughey act very well and create great chemistry.” Ross Anthony (rossanthony.com)
– “When you see them together, you can immediately envision them wearing matching pajamas and sharing the Sunday paper.” Andrew O’Hehir (salon.com)
Matching pajamas, Andrew? Maybe if they were brother and sister. Tim Cogshell (boxoffice.com) hit the nail on the head: “Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey have no chemistry. None. It’s like watching a brother and sister play romantic leads. It just feels wrong.”
Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) also got it right: “Jennifer Lopez looks soulfully into the eyes of Matthew McConaughey, but is he looking back? One of the many problems of ‘The Wedding Planner’ is that we can’t tell and don’t much care.”
I’ve seen more chemistry in the “Bride of Frankenstein!” Lopez and McConaughey are two very charismatic actors and it’s a shame they are wrong for each other. Lopez looks extraordinarily beautiful as ever; and McConaughey still has what women want. But in this film, they simply don’t fit.
Their first meeting raised a red flag. Steve rescues Mary from a runaway dumpster rolling down a steep San Francisco street. He tackles Mary and ends up lying on top of her. The scene was dragged out because he would not get off her! They tried to make this look spontaneous and magnetic, but it was so awkward and contrived. It almost makes you angry.
Rob Blackwelder (splicedwire.com) said, “I haven’t begun to scratch the surface of all the cruel things I’d like to say about ‘The Wedding Planner,’ but this review is one of the harshest I’ve ever written and I can feel myself only getting meaner.”
Carrie Rickey (Philadelphia Inquirer) observes, “For better or worse, ‘The Wedding Planner’ is what audiences recognize as a Julia Roberts movie.” If this were a Julia Roberts movie, Carrie, wouldn’t Julia Roberts want to be in it? This is no “Pretty Woman.”
Tony Toscano (KJZZ-TV) summed the film up best: “‘The Wedding Planner’ is an embarrassingly bad movie. The film combines a poorly written script and actors who, together, have no magnetism at all. Lopez delivers her lines with all the sincerity of a parrot. McConaughey’s performance is chafing. He just doesn’t connect with his character enough to be believable.”
A common appreciation among movie critics is that the film apparently has an old-fashioned, classic presence about it. Eric Harrison (Houston Chronicle) said, “It’s easy to picture this movie in black and white with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in the lead roles.”
Sorry, Eric. It’s a lot easier to picture “The Wedding Planner” with a black screen and white letters that say, “THE END.”
–CRITIC DOCTOR




Posted on February 4, 2001 in Features by
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