Ah yes. Just as Mona Lisa Smile attempted (and failed) to remake Dead Poet’s Society with a feminine twist, Made of Honor is intent on stealing from My Best Friend’s Wedding, but get this… they’ve swapped the genders of the characters! Ingenious!
Tom (Patrick Dempsey) and Hannah (Michelle Monaghan) meet in college – Tom the serial one-night-stand guy accidentally climbs into bed with Hannah the bookish Fine Arts major during a dorm party – and they instantly hit it off. Hannah doesn’t tolerate his bullshit, and Tom, stunning specimen of masculinity that he is, has never been stood up to by a woman before. As time passes their friendship is ever closer, lasting through Hannah’s bad relationships and Tom’s continuing womanising. Ten years later Hannah is off to Scotland for six weeks and their forced separation will ensure neither looks at the other the same way again.
To anyone who has seen the trailer, or any other romantic comedy in the history of the genre for that matter, the twists and turns the film takes until its inevitably bad conclusion will come as no surprise. The incredible and almost shocking thing about Made of Honour is that the first twenty or thirty minutes work really well. Monaghan and Dempsey generate a chemistry often absent in modern romcoms and both shine in spite of their relatively sparse characters. Monaghan has been someone to watch for several years now, with her wonderful breakthrough performance in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang followed by solid supporting turns in North Country and Mission: Impossible III. Hopefully her star will continue to rise in spite of her appearance here.
It is after the inevitable crisis moment of Hannah’s return to New York with unexpected news that things really turn bad. Made of Honour degenerates into horrible slapstick and uninspired cliché so rapidly it is hard to remember that the setup actually generated a smile. Progressing from bad to worse, the audience is invited to share in jokes about homosexuality (a male Maid of Honour? He must be, shhhh… gay!) and the obvious comedy inherent in portraying different cultures (they’re in Scotland, so obviously the food, attire and customs simply must be completely hilarious). It is almost impossible to adequately convey the abysmal mess the film sinks into by its conclusion.
That the trailer makes the experience of enduring this film even harder is another insult. Director Paul Weiland works hard to generate momentum in certain scenes only to have his punch lines so well publicised that the audience is expecting the gag. This is most obvious in the ‘Highland Games’ sequence and is yet another example of abuse from those responsible for advertising films.
Made of Honour features a title with a bizarre and yet entirely meaningless play on words that should be a clue that the film is best avoided, even if the groundswell of critical opinion against it hasn’t already convinced you. If you just can’t get by without seeing über-hunk Dempsey, hire it on dvd in a few months… but certainly don’t waste your sixteen bucks.Rating: