WEDDING PLANNER, THE

PG-13
Reviews

Hollywood has long been fond of weddings, both in real life and on film. Royal Wedding teamed Fred Astaire and Jane Powell in London for Queen Elizabeth II's lavish 1951 wedding. On a more plebeian level, Richard Brooks' The Catered Affair starred Debbie Reynolds as the daughter of a New York cab driver who falls in love with square-jawed Rod Taylor. And in Father of the Bride, arguably the quintessential matrimonial film, a stunning Elizabeth Taylor walked down the aisle with her groom as a dismayed Spencer Tracy pondered the cost of the marriage ceremony. Now comes The Wedding Planner, a commonplace little offering, low on charm, but trudging ahead anyway, with nary a laugh.

Mary Fiore (Jennifer Lopez) is a San Francisco wedding planner, but she's not exactly a control freak. So what if she feeds a best man his speech during the marriage ceremony? Mary has pretty much seen it all--that is, until she collides with a runaway dumpster and meets semi-cute with handsome Dr. Steve Edison (Matthew McConaughey). Steve is the kind of guy who can charm a woman by explaining why it's best to eat the brown M&M's in a packet of candy: Since the chocolate M&Ms are already brown, they require less artificial coloring. Steve is on the brink of marrying Internet tycoon Fran Connolly (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras), a client of Mary's. Given that, it's inevitable that Steve and Mary will live happily after.

Lopez brings a nice, lively presence to her character, while McConaughey pretty much strolls through his performance. Justin Chambers is occasionally amusing as an English-challenged, would-be Italian lothario, while veterans Joanna Gleason and Charles Kimbrough speed up the pace as Steve's future in-laws. Director Adam Shankman and screenwriters Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis try hard to elevate The Wedding Planner to the higher ranks of screwball comedy, but the level of wit on display here rarely rises above the flat champagne toasts one has to listen to at a wedding reception.

--Ed Kelleher