A cast 'Made' for better movies

Times Movie Critic

The greatest tribute Hollywood can pay to a film is to happily remake it while pretending to be doing nothing of the kind. Which is why what "Made of Honor" does best is remind you why "My Best Friend's Wedding" was so memorable.

Actually, that's not completely true. "Made of Honor" does star two first-rate romantic comedy leads, Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan, and it is always more than pleasant to experience their on-screen appeal. Which is part of the problem; playing platonic best friends who have thus far avoided a relationship but are so obviously destined for each other takes even the tiniest air of doubt out of the will-they-or-won't-they equation.

It also places increased demands on the filmmakers to make the time until this couple realizes what everyone in the audience knows move swiftly and pleasantly. Unfortunately neither director Paul Weiland ("City Slickers II") nor screenwriters Adam Sztykiel and the more experienced rewriters Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan ("Josie and the Pussycats") are fully up to that task.

"Made" starts with a cute-meet 10 years in the past, with its protagonists still in college. Dempsey's Tom, already an obsessive Casanova, mistakenly gets into bed with Monaghan's Hannah, and she so adroitly puts him in his place that they immediately become the best of friends. Just like real life.

Cut to today's New York, where Tom, wealthy as only the proud inventor of the coffee collar for take-out cups can be, is such catnip to women that they all but throw themselves at his feet. Hannah, now an art restorer, watches this with bemusement but wonders aloud about a man who only says "I love you" to canines.

But just when, after prodding from the college buddies he still hangs out with, Tom realizes that Hannah might be the woman for him, fate steps in in the form of a business trip she takes to Scotland.

Hannah is gone for six weeks, and in that time manages to meet and get engaged to Colin (Kevin McKidd), a handsome Scotsman who is just about perfect. Not only is he charming and good-looking, he's a natural athlete, next door to royalty and the wealthy owner of the country's largest whiskey distillery. And, as emphasized by one of "Made's" too frequent excursions into feeble risque humor (the film was in fact re-edited to avoid an R), he is also, as they say, well-endowed physically.

Unaware of Tom's change of heart, Hannah asks him to be her maid of honor. Determined to sabotage this wedding from the inside, Tom agrees.

Both Dempsey, expert in "Enchanted," and Monaghan, who's brought a welcome spark to everything from "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" to "Gone Baby Gone," are very good at what they do. If you're in the mood for seeing a Lothario humbled by true love, you're in luck. You may wish, however, that "Made of Honor" had given its stars something more of interest to occupy their time. And ours.




"Made of Honor." MPAA rating: PG-13 for sexual content and language. Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes. In general release.

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