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Plan to Skip This 'Wedding'

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 26, 2001


    'The Wedding Planner' Jennifer Lopez is a workaholic who is rescued by a handsome stranger (Matthew McConaughey) in "The Wedding Planner." (Sony Pictures)
Don't even begin to think of "The Wedding Planner" as a good movie. But if you're in the Jennifer Lopez appreciation business – and I understand there are many of you – this energetically plotted romance is one way to check out her various assets.

The best asset of all is her likability. As a control freak who plans weddings with the professional mastery of a Steven Spielberg, she's a charming presence. Matthew McConaughey's her squeeze-in-the-making, buffed up like most male actors these days and doing his adorable Texan thang. But "The Wedding Planner" is definitely Jennifer's parade.

She's Mary Fiore, a vibrant, single woman who makes impossible, extravagant weddings work like a dream, whether she's consoling the bride, sobering up the nervous father or issuing sharp commands by walkie-talkie. This is her world. She owns it. But here's the twist in a formulaic nutshell: She's ensuring everyone's romantic future but her own.

That's when Mary bumps into Mr. Might Be Right (McConaughey), a good-looking pediatrician with a southern twang and a great big smile.

Actually, Mr. Might, who calls himself Steve, bumps into her. Get this: An errant car nudges a sidewalk dumpster that starts to roll down the sloped road. This is San Francisco, so everything's a slope. (Did they film here just to make this scene work?)

Mary, it just so happens, gets a heel stuck in a manhole cover – right in the path of the speeding dumpster. But she won't take her foot out of the shoe because, well, she really doesn't want to lose a great shoe. At the last possible minute, Steve takes an honorable dive and saves the day – and her shoe.

Romantic fireworks explode, of course. But as Mary seems bound for beautiful bliss with Steve, she runs into a little complication – involving Steve. Without giving too much away, he's suddenly out of the picture, and Mary's going to have to keep a stiff upper lip and work hard at her next project, which involves a particularly lucrative wedding featuring bride-to-be Fran Donolly (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras).

Mary has another big problem. Her Italian father (Alex Rocco) has set her up with Massimo (Justin Chambers, playing cute and Italian), a tenacious suitor and childhood friend from the Old Country who remembers Mary when she was young and naked.

As you might have guessed from the dumpster scene alone, the plot to "The Wedding Planner" is convoluted. You'll spend way too much time sitting through those unnecessarily detailed twists and turns, and you'll have to spend less-than-hilarious time with Mary's supposedly wacky underling, Penny (Judy Greer). I suggest you RSVP in the negative to this "Wedding" invitation, unless you consider yourself a friend of the obvious bride to be, Ms. Lopez. But even then, you'll have to focus on her presence, rather than the silly ceremony around her.

"The Wedding Planner" (PG-13, 104 minutes) – Contains strong language, sexual situations and sexual humor.


Copyright 2001 The Washington Post Company

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