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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • 4 Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - Director Adam Shankman, writers Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Featurette - The Dancer and the Cowboy
  • Animated menus
  • Awards/Nominations

The Wedding Planner

Columbia Pictures/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 99 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

It's the dream of so many girls from childhood - that one incredibly special day in your life when you get to be a princess - your wedding day. Mary Fiore (Jennifer Lopez) shares this dream, however unlucky in love herself, and dateless for more than two years, she channels her incredible energies into planning the big days of others. And she's San Francisco's biggest whiz at it too - armed with her headset she coordinates the biggest of peoples' big days with military-like precision, locating MIA FOBs, fixing bodgy cleavages and pep talking the most nervous and neurotic of brides-to-be. Ah, she must lead such a romantic life...

"Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't wed, plan."

By far the most successful planner where she works, Mary confronts her boss Geri (the wonderful Kathy Najimy) demanding to be made a partner, and a deal is struck - land the massive Donolly account and she's in. However she ends up rather distracted, after a run in with a drain and a Gucci heel, and being saved from a steamrolling by a runaway dumpster, she thinks she's met her knight in shining armour - Dr Steve (Matthew McConaughey). However, there's just one slight problem, it transpires that he's the fiancť of power-blonde Fran Donolly (Pete Sampras' wife) - yes, THAT Donolly.

Trying to remain professional to the end, and battling the amorous advances of doltish Paul Boom Boom Boom Lekakis wannabe Massimo, who her Scrabble-loving father is trying to arrange a marriage with, Mary is inundated. As a tale involving dancing, drunkenness, male bonding, horse riding, lost loves, cold feet, macho posturing, weak wills and mopeds unfolds, will the Donolly wedding go off without a hitch (or in this case perhaps that should be WITH a hitch?), landing her with her partnership? Or will affairs of the heart win out?

Choreographer Adam Shankman makes a decent fist of things with his directorial debut, with some truly magical scenes and imaginative camerawork, and all importantly a premise with promise. However, generally where romantic comedies succeed or fail is in the chemistry department - and sadly there just isnít a particularly strong one between the leads J Lo and McConaughey. Whilst none of the performances are bad per se, they just donít seem to have that necessary spark between them, and things are left to an often fabulous supporting cast, notably Alex Rocco as Mary's father Salvatore, the criminally under utilised Kathy Najimy, Murphy Brown's Charles Kimbrough as the nothing's-too-good-for-my-daughter Mr Donolly and Judy Greer as Penny, Mary's scatterbrained assistant, to really bolster the entertainment value of the film.

  Video
Contract

The bad news? There's one infinitesimal almost-aliasing moment involving a glass door, and the layer change is quite horrendous, occurring mid scene and rather jarring.

The good news? It's 2.35:1, which is certainly a nice change for a romantic comedy; it's anamorphic and, well, everything else basically. In all this is an incredibly impressive visual transfer that will have the more boffin-like out there drooling and uttering such phrases as "reference quality".

  Audio
Contract

Accompanied by a perfectly fine 5.1 mix, whilst not exactly the type of disc you spin into action to show off your system, surrounds are used subtly but effectively throughout, with minimal subwoofwoof action. There are no issues with synching, and dialogue was clear at all times, the only posers being some of the fake accents which proved a little challenging to catch on odd occasions.

The soundtrack is typical fare for this type of flick, a fairly inconsequential score from Mervyn Warren that never draws attention to itself, yet would be missed it if it wasn't there. Needless to say this is augmented by a plethora of soppy pop songs from a string of mostly unknowns, although the fabulous Lisa Stansfield pops up, as do John Denver, Livvie and somebody covering sleazebag I-divorced-my-wife-by-fax Phil Collins' Groovy Kind of Love (irony in its inclusion in such a film as this?) Need I bother to mention that J Lo gets a Guernsey in the soundtrack department too? No, I guess not...

  Extras
Contract

What appears at first glance to be a thorough collection of extras awaits from the subtly animated and musically enhanced menusÖ

Commentary - director Adam Shankman plus writers Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis: A remarkably engaging commentary from three who obviously have a fine rapport, in some ways this was more enjoyable than the film itself. They all talk a mile a minute and offer some generally fun and interesting insights into their baby, ranging from steadicam tracking shots to character arcs and wardrobe coordination to hair styles. Some klutz has cut the introduction off, so we just kind of lob in mid-sentence; I suspect this is because the film had a different distributor overseas. Regardless, this is still very, very sloppy.

Featurette - The Dancer and the Cowboy: A blipvert-like 2:55 minute piece concentrating on quick behind the scenes looks at two of the films moments - one on a dance floor, and one involving horses. There are brief interview segments with J Lo, MM and director Adam Shankman.

The Making of: Like you know, whatever. Generally something billed as a 'making of' runs for more than 3:25, so needless to say this is a bit of puffy fluff that is quite inconsequential. Once again naturally succinct interviews with J Lo, MM and Shankman are included, interspersed with some behind the scenes footage and segments from the film. Just donít blink, as you may miss it...

Deleted scenes: Four deleted scenes with optional director's commentaries, none of which are particularly missed from the film (although one is kind of cute). Whilst video quality is far from great (aliasing ahoy!), and audio is generally incomplete, they are presented at 2.35:1, and are most certainly worth having a look for a bit more insight into a couple of the characters. Some may find it worth it simply for a few minutes of a bare-chested, oiled up Matthew McConaughey, too...

Theatrical trailer: Surprisingly speckly, this 2:32 minute trailer is presented in a 16x9 enhanced ratio of 1.85:1, and does feature a few cut scenes and alternate takes to the finished product. Pleasingly it also gives us The Guy Who Does Trailers in the voiceover department, which for these ears is always a thrill.

Previews: Trailers for two thematically related flicks, the classic blacker-than-black Muriel's Wedding and Adam Sandler's finest moment, The Wedding Singer. The former is in a ratio around 1.78:1, the latter is verging on full frame; both have standard stereo sound, and are in reasonable shape.

Cast and crew: A thorough list of cast and crew, many of which have filmographies attached, four of which have biographies as well.

Dolby Digital trailer: Yawn! Some boring spacey thing I havenít come across before.

  Overall  
Contract

If you're after a mushy romantic comedy to curl up with, and arenít too fussy, then this fluffy example may very well be your ticket. It has most of what we've come to expect from such films - even that all important thunderstorm - and whilst there's a certain magic missing between the leads they are still quite likeable in their own ways. Be warned though, you may wish to keep a bucket handy.

Visual and audio presentation on this disc cannot be faulted, and whilst the extras arenít as good as they sound on paper, especially in light of the brevity of many of them, there's still enough to keep the less cynical out there amused for a while.

Oh, and the best news? Whilst McConaughey does keep his clothes on, at least there's no sign of any bongos anywhere...


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      And I quote...
    "A mushy, fluffy romantic comedy for the not-too-fussy to curl up with. Essential viewing though if your name is Muriel..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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