Technically it’s Tuesday but I forgot to post this yesterday. The Wedding Planner is a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew It’s objectively terrible. While movies made for women have lower ratings in general, that’s a result of sexism more often than of poor production. For example, we know that men are a majority (70%+) of online reviewers, and that they are petty about down voting shows that aren’t for them. Check out this piece from fivethirtyeight for more details and some tables.
With this bias in mind, I chose an older very poorly rated “chick flick” for this week’s review. The Wedding Planner has a 16% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the critic consensus is that the movie is unoriginal. Honestly I don’t expect a lot of originality in romantic comedies. I know how it goes: boy meets girl, something keeps boy and girl apart, they resolve it, they kiss. I consider buddy comedies to follow nearly the same pattern, only without the romance. So, I can forgive a comedy for following a rote path. What I can’t forgive is the complete lack of on screen chemistry between the co stars.
What I Liked
Where romantic comedies differ is in the back story of the female lead. In this case, Mary Fiore (Lopez) is the daughter of an Italian immigrant father, a hobbyist Scrabble player, and a professional wedding planner. The scenes that show her in these settings are overall better than the romance scenes. If any of these facets had been the true focus of the movie, that could have been interesting. But instead they were used scantly and with a heavy hand.
What I Didn’t Like
Can I say everything? Because it was practically everything. This film could have achieved “meh” instead of “blech” status if it had not been a romantic comedy, or if her career (the title) had been the main story arc. Instead it was a romantic comedy without any romance. No part of me could suspend disbelief long enough to feel like Lopez and McConaughey were even slightly attracted to each other. The dialog sounds platonic on their lips and when they kissed it was cringing level awkward. I kept finding myself speculating someone must be gay to account for the complete lack of chemistry. In fact, the chemistry was much greater between Lopez and Justin Chambers, who plays the fella she’s supposed to reject in favor of McConaughey.
Conclusion This movie is just awful, and not “so bad it’s good”. It’s forced, flat, and forgettable. Don’t even bother.