Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on September 22nd, 2008
When I was a kid, I loved Archie comics. Before every family road trip (at least once a year), my mom would head to the grocery store and buy up all of the latest issues of everything from Jughead to Little Archie. We amassed quite the collection, and I read those things over and over for years. Recently, in a moment of nostalgia, I bought a new issue. I was excited to see what my old pals the Riverdale gang were up to — boy, was I disappointed. I knew nearly all of the stories! They barely did anything to hide the fact that they were reruns, simply transplanting plots from summer to winter, or changing from basketball to volleyball. What a crock.
Speaking of reruns, you’ll recognize Made of Honor as My Best Friend’s Wedding with a dash of When Harry Met Sally. I know it’s a well-established Hollywood tradition to rehash plots from past successes, but this chick flick was marketed as something fresh. Right. It’s a good thing fans of rom-coms don’t mind watching the same story over and over. And over.
But hey, this rom-com stars Patrick Dempsey, better known as “McDreamy” on TV’s Grey’s Anatomy. That’s fresh, right? Yeah, like Seth Rogen doing a comedy. Dempsey is Tom, a rich player with all sorts of rules in place to stay that way, like never sleeping over at a female conquest’s place. Michelle Monaghan (Mission: Impossible III) is Hannah, the attractive best friend who’s perfect for Tom, a fact Tom’s oblivious to until it’s too late — when Hannah returns from an overseas trip with a fiancée (Journeyman’s Kevin McKidd). Naturally, Hannah asks Tom to be his maid of honor, which puts Tom in the incredibly awkward position Julia Roberts enjoyed in My Best Friend’s Wedding: stuck between supporting the fast-approaching marriage of a best friend, and the overpowering urge to sabotage the proceedings and have the best friend for himself.
You can guess the rest. While Made of Honor is completely formulaic and built upon a series of highly unrealistic turns of event, it does rise slightly above the crop of rom-coms thanks to the strength of its cast. Dempsey is at very least a fresh change from Hugh Grant or Matthew McConaughey, and at best offers a sincere performance as the neurotic male lead. Monaghan is even better, perfectly cast as the charming, lovable girl-next-door type, but with a gutsy edge that makes her even more endearing. The pair has great chemistry, a feature that typically makes or breaks films in this genre. Completing the triangle, McKidd pours on the Scottish charm as he creates a daunting competitor for Hannah’s love. Together, this trio makes Made of Honor a solid date movie, and the perfect choice for a girls’ night in.
Made of Honor is presented on a single double-sided disc, in both 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 fullscreen formats. Whichever you choose, you’ll be treated to a solid transfer with sharp details and realistic, consistent colors. A particular treat is the film’s final act, which takes place in the gorgeous countryside of Scotland, complete with craggy rock formations and lush hills and valleys. The cinematography takes great advantage of the Scottish scenery, and the disc’s transfers uphold that quality.
The main audio presentation is Dolby Digital 5.1, and is typical of the genre in every way. All dialogue and effects are perfectly clear, but the track is definitely front-heavy, with the centre channel doing most of the lifting. The surrounds provide forgettable support, and the LFE channel lies dormant for much of the film. Like I said, business as usual.
5.1 Audio is also available in French, while subtitles are offered in English and French.
This single-disc release offers just one extra: a commentary by director Paul Weiland (City Slickers 2). Weiland is interesting enough, but the film just doesn’t warrant a commentary. I find it difficult to care about casting decisions and on-location anecdotes for a formula-fest like Made of Honor. It’d make far more sense to have a blooper reel and a short making-of featurette.
Unlike a lot of guys, I like romantic comedies. When Harry Met Sally is one of my favorite movies, for instance. But most of the genre is just too formulaic to earn my praise. Many rom-coms begin with an original premise but quickly devolve into the same old schtick. Made of Honor doesn’t even have the premise going for it, but I like the actors and their performances well enough to give this DVD a rental recommendation. Big fans may want to purchase, but I’d advise holding out for a special edition at a later date. You never know.