The Wedding Planner

on January 26, 2001 by Tim Cogshell
   The romantic comedy is one of the most popular and therefore formulaic forms of genre cinema. The boy/girl dynamic, no matter how arranged, is always inviting. Given that the plot is inevitably going to follow the meets/loses/gets arc, the one element that's vital to keeping the audience interested is a palpable passion between the two leads. In the by-the-numbers "Wedding Planner," stars Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey have no chemistry. None. It's like watching a brother and sister play romantic leads. It just feels wrong.

   The film's overly developed plot does not help. Lopez plays Mary, a high-end San Francisco wedding planner with her sights set on landing the premiere account of a local society type (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, playing something just shy of the blond ice-princess roles to which she's usually relegated). By chance, Mary is saved from a runaway dumpster by Steve (McConaughey), a handsome young doctor who just happens to be engaged to Fran (Wilson-Sampras). They're smitten, Mary and Steve, but what can they do? What's worse--and completely unnecessary to the story --is that Mary's loving but dizzy father has arranged a marriage for her to a childhood friend from Sicily. It's all too nutty for a 21st century audience.

   Though little of "The Wedding Planner" makes any sense, that might have been overcome had Lopez and McConaughey sizzled. The beautiful San Francisco vistas and dazzling costume designs (worn with style by Ms. Lopez) of Pamela Withers provide a visual elegance that's enchanting. But, alas, the film itself falls short of the same kind of enchantment. Starring Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Justine Chambers, Judy Greer, Alex Rocco, Joanna Gleason, Charles Kimbrough, Kevin Pollak, Fred Willard, Francis Bay and Kathy Najimy. Directed by Adam Shankman. Written by Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis. Produced by Peter Abrams and Deborah Del Prete. A Columbia release. Romantic comedy. Rated PG-13 for language and some sexual humor. Running time: 102 min

Tags: wedding, romance, mishap, Jennifer Lopez, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Matthew McConaughey, Judy Greer, Kevin Pollak, Fred Willard, Kathy Najimy, Adam Shankman

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