11 May 2008 | jon.h.ochiai
Waiting Out "Made of Honor"
Okay, after 10 minutes of "Made of Honor" it is crystal clear that best friends Tom (Patrick Dempsey) and Hannah (Michelle Monaghan) are madly in love with each other, and should be together. Tom and Hannah are beautiful and good people, but apparently not smart enough to figure this out now. So we have to wait it out for the next couple hours. Yes, this is formulaic romantic comedy, and taxing one's patience. Further complicating our pain, the fleet of writersAdam Sztykiel, Deborah Kaplan, and Harry Elfont, depict Tom and Hannah literally on paper as smart, charming, and engaging, except for this glaring blind spot. However, despite the narrative devices and clumsy direction from Paul Weiland, I was enrolled by a scene with Michelle Monaghan. As Hannah, Monaghan looks wistfully at photos of her and Tom on her cell phone. She resonates with a sense of sadness and regret. Later Dempsey as the clued in Tom implores Hannah, "Please don't marry him
A lot of "Made of Honor" is over wrought and contrived; however, Dempsey and Monaghan's charm make you wait it out. Dempsey is the handsome engaging player lug-head, who underneath it all has a good heart. Michelle Monaghan is radiantly beautiful, funny, and smart. She is a younger Sandra Bullock. Monaghan is humorously vulnerable as Hannah, who is smart in settling for a relationship, because she fears she can't have what she really deserves. Monaghan is amazing.
We find that Tom and Hannah (Dempsey and Monaghan) became best friends as a result of Tom's college high jinx. Today Tom is very wealthy as a result of an idea he had for a cup holder sleeve. Hannah is the passionate art curator for the museum. Tom and Hannah are best friends with killer chemistry. Hannah is Tom's go to date for his father Thomas Sr.'s (funny Sydney Pollack) numerous weddings. The count is up to 6. Even Thomas jokes to Tom, if Tom doesn't marry Hannah, he'll make her number 7. Hannah, being Tom's tolerant and patient best bud accepts Tom's one night stands with hot women. She is even versed in his rules for sleeping with the same woman on consecutive nights. Tom also has his buddies, including solid Felix (Kadeem Hardison), with whom he plays basketball. Tom seems to have the perfect life. Then following Tom's father's wedding reception, Hannah tells Tom that she has to go to Scotland for 6 weeks on business. Tom facetiously says, "What am I going to do without you?"
During her absence, Tom starts to get a clue about Hannah-- being the one. So he decides to tell Hannah, that they should be together when she returns. However, Hannah returns with great news: She has fallen in love and is getting married in 2 weeks in Scotland. The guy is Colin (dashing and charming Kevin McKidd), who is a Scottish Duke and apparently the perfect guy. Really. Tom and his crew later get a glimpse of this at a ridiculous pick up basketball game experience. Anyway, Hannah asks Tom to be her Maid of Honor. Tom accepts. His bud Felix reminds him that he can "steal the bride" from inside the wedding. Predictably the rest of the Brides Maids are annoyed with Tom, particularly Maid of Honor runner-up cousin Melissa (angry Busy Philipps), who Tom slept with once.
For the most part "Made of Honor" is by the numbers romantic comedy. It does manage a touching turn, because we really want to know why Hannah ends up choosing Colin. It is transparent to us that Colin is the perfect guy, but he is not the perfect guy for Hannah. Fortunately, Dempsey and Monaghan's charm and chemistry for the most part wins over "Maid of Honor". Sydney Pollack provides welcome comic relief and staid fatherly advice. Kathleen Quilan is great in the supporting role of Hannah's mother Joan. Too bad she doesn't have a bigger role. But she has a moving moment with Monaghan as Mom talks about Hannah's late father.
"Made of Honor" is enjoyable for what it is: cookie cutter romantic comedy. We can suspend our disbelief, because Dempsey and Monaghan are great together.