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WEDDING PLANNER, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Mary Fiore (Jennifer Lopez) meets Dr Steve Edison (Matthew McConaughey) in a steep San Fransisco street – while being attacked by a giant, runaway rubbish bin. He saves her from a fate worse than trash and something clicks between them. But when Mary – San Fransisco’s most fabulous wedding planner – discovers that her next rich client, bride-to-be Fran Donolly (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras), is about to marry this guy, all romantic hell breaks loose. Meanwhile, Mary’s well-meaning father arranges a fiancee for date-less Mary, her childhood neighbour, Massimo (Justin Chambers). With cupid in a spin, the woman who arranges weddings – and saves them from imploding at the last minute – Mary finds herself in a dilemma of her own heart.

"Look, this is an entertaining and engaging romantic comedy, which I enjoyed for all its lighthearted charms and overlooked all its mass-produced schmaltz. That’s what basic entertainment’s about. Cinema is as good at it as the circus or the theatre. I laughed and smiled and went along with the premise, and Jennifer Lopez is as good at romantic comedy as she is at action drama (Out of Sight). The script is good enough to make the scenario work and the actors give us a fast variety of character-inspired situations to make the film click along. In the golden days of Hollywood, this was the currency of the studios. Matthew McConaughey allows Lopez to be the star in performance terms, and Mrs Sampras is an effective rich girl with a confused heart, but despite a wobbly start, it is Justin Chambers as Massimo who manages to make us believe in his emotions most of all – a nice little irony for a romantic comedy, that the boy loser gets the girls in the cinema weeping. So there you go: see it and be happy, for the movies are a place of fun."
Andrew L. Urban

"Dripping with lip gloss, stilettos and tight skirts, The Wedding Planner is a fabulous, fun & frothy flutter. There are gorgeous dresses, a pleasing soundtrack, beautiful locations and San Francisco sparkles as she has never before, as the backdrop for romance. Of course this uplifting and enjoyable romantic comedy is all nonsense, but it never pretends to be anything else, and Jennifer Lopez is stunning in a seriously shapely way. Cast as the control freak who plans the very last detail of everyone else's special day except her own, Lopez steals the limelight and wins us with her warmth, energy and sharp sense of comedic flair. Matthew McConaughey makes for a charismatic romantic lead; he is a bit left of field and we get the distinct feeling that he's having fun. Bridgette Wilson-Sampras is a perfect, pouting Barbie-doll kinda blonde and there's no doubt her famous ace hubby Pete makes her presence even more interesting. It's funny in a heartwarming kind of way and schmaltz never sets in as we dip in and out of the warmly fuzzy storyline. Predictable perhaps, but the charm is all in the execution, while the characters are cleverly written and somewhat unpredictable. The ones we especially remember are those who are not slick and packaged up Hollywood-style, but are oddballs from the scrabble set, the ballroom dancing class, the arranged beau and the dizzy man-hungry wedding planning associate – they are all a delight. The set up is totally irresistible, when we first see Mary Fiore in action in situ at what one could despairingly say (with a smile) is wedding decadence at its most vulgarly extravagant. After all, when your daily work problems include a crisis like this - FOB is MIA and most men are NID - you can’t help but giggle. Got your curiosity? You'll have to see the film to work that out. You might also find out that love is more than a fairytale that blossoms when planning is at a bare minimum."
Louise Keller

"The Wedding Planner is a perfectly acceptable piece of Hollywood fluff that might have sparkled much more had a more charismatic leading man been engaged. With his annoying, croaky Texan drawl and slightly smarmy air, Matthew McConaughey upsets the tone of an otherwise fairly smooth exercise in pre-marital hijinks. This is pleasant though uninspired and you have the feeling that it should have been much funnier as career girl Lopez tries to figure out if Mr Wrong is really Mr Right in disguise. There are plenty of smiles but not the full blown hilarity that made My Best Friend's Wedding such a standout in the same field. Lopez's warmth and comic timing are the strongest elements here - we really do care about what happens to her even in such improbable surroundings. She has a delightful cheekiness when predicting the length of a marriage using the couple's wedding song as sole criteria ("Olivia Newton-John's I Honestly Love You- 14 months, tops!") and a glowing sincerity when soothing the last-minute jitters of nervous brides. Some less than inspired plot convolutions involving her father's attempts to arrange a marriage with Sicilian import Massimo might have defeated a less gifted comedienne but Lopez glides through the rocky terrain. Dance choreographer turned director Adam Shankman handles things sluggishly at times but he has a lively cast (McConaughey excepted) whose efforts give zip to the silly proceedings. As pure popcorn escapism The Wedding Planner does its job with just enough style to ensure long queues at the box office and doubtlessly a long life on video shelves."
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

See our INTERVIEW with Matthew McConaughey

Read our SOUNDTRACK REVIEW with audio excerpts.

WEDDING PLANNER (PG)
(US)

CAST: Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Bridgette Wilson, Justin Chambers

DIRECTOR: Adam Shankman

PRODUCERS: Peter Abrams, Deborah Del Prete, Jennifer Gibgot, Robert L. Levy, Gigi Pritzker

SCRIPT: Pamela Falk, Michael Ellis

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Julio Macat

EDITOR: Lisa Zeno Churgin

MUSIC: Mervyn Warren

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bob Ziembicki

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 29, 2001

VIDEO RELEASE: October 3, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment







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