When the summer-movie season starts, the movie studios like to push out alternative content for people who don’t want lots of special effects and explosions. Usually these films are the exact opposite of their big-name competition. And since they’re not expected to make money—compared to the blockbuster hopefuls they’re being released against—they’re usually not very good. So, just as Curtis Hansen’s poker drama Lucky You came out alongside Spider-Man 3 last summer, we now have Made of Honor sneaking its way into theaters at the same time as Iron Man.
The movie stars Patrick Dempsey (Enchanted), in yet another attempt to transition him from TV stardom on Grey’s Anatomy to bona fide movie star, something that hasn’t really happened for anyone since George Clooney. Sure, both actors have followed similar career paths. They each have a series of terrible credits from their past—for Clooney, stuff like Return of the Killer Tomatoes! (1988), for Dempsey, portraying “The Plant” on an episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!. And both landed jobs on popular hospital-centric TV dramas. The only difference is that Dempsey is at best a dollar-store Clooney. It’s not that Dempsey is a bad actor. Made of Honor just proves that he doesn’t have the range or charm to carry a movie. Of course, it certainly doesn’t help that the script calls for him to be such an unlikable sleaze.
Dempsey plays Tom, a playboy who’s made millions from inventing paper “coffee collars.” Tom is a pretentious yuppie with stunted maturity and a misogynistic set of rules for sleeping with women, like never seeing a woman two days in a row. The movie is a bit insulting in this respect, since the myriad of women he sleeps with seem only to care that he’s wealthy and good-looking—20-something models are constantly throwing themselves at him.
Tom can’t be all bad, though, since his best friend is a woman named Hannah (Michelle Monaghan, Gone Baby Gone). It’s not until Hannah leaves for Scotland for a month and a half that Tom suddenly realizes that she’s the one for him. Unfortunately, just as Tom decides to profess his love to her, she returns to America newly engaged to a Scotsman (Kevin McKidd, The Last Legion)—and being best friends, Hannah asks Tom to be her maid of honor. Instead of just being an adult and talking to her, Tom agrees to the idea so that he’ll be able to sabotage the wedding from the inside and steal Hannah away.
There’s never any question as to who will end up with the girl. The only real question is why the movie’s called Made of Honor, since there’s little that’s honorable about Tom’s playboy behavior or about ruining your best friend’s wedding. The script states that Tom has matured and changed (at one point 32-year-old Tom pontificates that he’s “starting to think there’s more to life than sleeping around”), but judging by his selfish attitude, it’s hard to buy that this is anything more than a put-on.
It all adds up to a film that’s short on romance and comedy (“gags” include an old woman wearing glow-in-the-dark sex beads as a necklace), which would be fine, except for the fact that the movie’s supposed to be a romantic comedy. Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language.