I admit it. I love romantic comedies. I've seen pretty much every one made in the last decade, and I'll see every one made in the coming decade. I am that girl.
Last night's offering was Made of Honor with Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan. Since romantic comedies tend to be formulaic in plot, I've developed a five point rating system to hone in on the elements that separate the classics from the duds.
1) Romantic location: Check
Made of Honor is set in both New York and Scotland. While the NY scenes are fine, their main function is to provide contrast for the green hills, crystal clear lakes, and castles of Scotland. After seeing this movie, you'll want to be on the next flight to Edinburgh.
2) Handsome leading man: Grudging check
I don't get the McDreamy thing, but most women do, so I'll give it a point on this front. That said, his hair is distractingly large in this movie. I missed several lines of dialogue staring at the height and the whirls and wondering how much product it took to defy gravity and mold it into that shape. Of course, if the dialogue were better, this may not have been such a problem. Which brings me to #3 ...
3) Humor: Fail
Patrick Dempsey falls down. Twice. Knocks over a waiter, food flies, the whole deal. Yawn. There's also a basketball player in too short shorts who wears out his welcome within seconds. The best humor in the genre is found in clever dialogue, and that's absent here. Instead, we have over-the-top caricatures and lame attempts at physical comedy. I think I chuckled once, but that may have been at the leading man's hair.
4) Cute hair/clothes: Check
Yes, I said cute hair. Coveting the leading lady's hair and wardrobe is a key part of the escapist experience. It doesn't matter if she could never reasonably afford the clothes. I am happiest when she's stylish and put together in ways most of us can only dream of. Monaghan manages to be the best dressed woman in every scene and sports a nicely layered bob that is always sleek and bouncy and perfectly in place. Fashion highlights were the maroon dress at the bridesmaids' meeting and the Scottish wedding gown (sans tartan sash, of course).
5) Chemistry: Fail
This one will make or break the movie. I can roll with bad clothes, flat hair, an Iowa location, and even a sketchy leading man if I truly believe that these two belong together. In Made of Honor, they had a nice friendship but no spark that made it clear that they were meant to be. To make matters worse, she had better chemistry and a more credible romance with Colin, the Other-Man-She's-Not-Really-Supposed-To-Marry. Whoops! It was a mistake to make his greatest sin bagpipe playing while Dempsey's character is basically a cad who decided, for largely selfish reasons, that he didn't want to lose his best friend. Epic failure on this front.
Final verdict: 4.5/10. You'd be better off renting My Best Friend's Wedding which is essentially the same story told in a much more appealing way. Plus, Cameron Diaz has great hair in that one. Just sayin'.