So was Harry right all those years ago? Can men and women never really and truly be "just friends"? Well, certainly not if they're starring in a pratfall-laden gloss on the classic studio romcom. Made of Honor, a reasonably pleasing iteration of the form, stars Patrick Dempsey as Tom, a ladies' man who relies on his levelheaded best friend, Hannah (Michelle Monaghan), for intellectually stimulating companionship. When she travels to Scotland on a business trip, he realizes he cares for her and plans to make a declaration of love when she returns. Of course, she's been swept off her feet by studly Scotsman Colin (Kevin McKidd), and the two are set to wed. Tom reluctantly signs on as her maid of honor, hoping to sabotage the wedding from the inside.
Made has a fine cast to guide it through its routine paces. On paper, caddish Tom isn't the most sympathetic soul, but Dempsey makes him genially McDreamified, a well-meaning regular guy who doesn't realize the depth of his feelings until it's too late. He's also a good sport about the aforementioned pratfalls, taking on a couple of exaggerated displays of klutziness with panache. Monaghan, meanwhile, is sweet and sparkling; we immediately see why Tom would fall for her, even if he's slow to catch on. And as Tom's rival, McKidd more than confirms his rising-star status. He showed off his dramatic chops on the short-lived series Journeyman, but here he gets to play things light and comic. His Colin is charming, a man of ridiculously diverse talents (basketball-dunking, tree-throwing, bag-piping), but McKidd never takes the easy route, never turns him into a too-perfect cartoon.
In addition to touching humorously on Colin's many skills, the film mines a lot of jokes -- some of them sitcomishly dumb, some of them actually amusing -- from Tom's plight. There are funny old people, gags about Tom's sexuality, and an extremely weird sequence in which Hannah insists that her maid of honor watch while she tries on lingerie (because that's what all girls do with their male best friends--right?). It's predictable, but the film shuffles along fairly enjoyably, save for a few sour notes: An out-of-place mean streak involving a chubby bridesmaid and her too-tight dress, for instance, feels unnecessary.
And yet, though it makes for a decently entertaining hour and a half, this general sense of amiable good-naturedness is, in many ways, the film's ultimate flaw. Pleasing as the stars are, fun as it is to watch them banter, there's something almost too, well, friendly, about the proceedings. Though Dempsey and Monaghan have believable chemistry, we never quite feel that necessary sense of urgency about their need to be together. It would be nice, sure. But it's not essential. Unlike Harry and Sally, maybe Tom and Hannah would have been better off staying good friends. And unlike the most swoony of romcoms, Made of Honor is ultimately a flick you could see being good pals with--but you never quite fall in love.
Directed by: Paul Weiland
Starring: Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan, Kevin McKidd, Kathleen Quinlan, Sydney Pollack
Screenplay by: Adam Sztykiel, Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont