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Click above to purchase "The Wedding Planner" at amazon.com

 

The Wedding Planner

review by Zach B.

Rated PG-13

Studio: Columbia/Tri-Star

Running Time: 104 minutes

Starring Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Justin Chambers, Alex Rocco

Written by Pamela Falk & Michael Ellis

Directed by Adam Shankman

Retail Price: $24.98

Features: Audio Commentary with Director Adam Shankman and Writers Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis, Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary by Director Adam Shankman, Making-Of Featurette, The Dancer and the Cowboy featurette, Filmographies, Theatrical Trailers

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selection (28 Chapters)

Jennifer Lopez got nearly thirteen million dollars for this? Well, more power to her then! Lopez plays Mary Fiore, a top notch wedding planner who is an expert at planning every detail for weddings. However, Mary doesn't have much of a love life herself. She's a perfectionist and that, and seems a bit too busy coordinating weddings to be busy with love. However, fate steps in when Dr. Steve Edison (Matthew McConaughey) saves her from a moving dumpster that's OUT TO KILL. While sparks fly between them, Steve is already getting married... and is planning his wedding. Need I go on? Do you know what happens in the end?

"The Wedding Planner" was a giant success last winter at the box office despite being bashed by critics. When it comes down to it, the film is a standard romantic comedy. You know what's going to happen right from the start (even the trailer spoils the movie as usual). The characters lack dimension or depth and are pretty nothing new and exciting. It's got comedy with some silly moments that we've seen before, not to mention some ridiculous lines and situations that just didn't feel or seem right within the context.

Yet what annoyed me so much about this movie was the pace. Clocking in at 104 minutes, it's just amazing how things are set up within this movie. It just expects you to go along with what it offers. What annoyed me is how it failed to establish some characters as well as relationships that play an important part within the movie. We're supposed to label the characters and just take them, this became a bit frusturating for me. While it will be obvious to some what role the characters are supposed to be and play, other fellow film watchers may lack a sense of who they're supposed to be. As far as the relationship between Mary and Steve goes... it doesn't take time to really build anything up between them. They just go out together in an instance and then they bicker and then... yeah, you know what happens next. It just rushes into things too quickly and feels a bit mixed up on how it presents itself. A few scenes really serve no purpose. Too bad, really. I felt the movie's plot had some potential actually, but thanks to the writing and how it's played out it loses that in a heartbeat.

Still, I will give credit to the movie for what it does right. Shankman, a long time choreographer makes his feature directing debut here and is pretty decent. The acting is also pretty good. Lopez is pretty charming and fits the bill as Mary perfectly, while McConaughey is also good. I wasn't sure how good he would be, but he's pretty fun to watch actually and the two have good chemistry. Bridgette Wilson-Sampras is also pretty amusing and not the usual "oh-I-have-the-guy-and-I'm-a-bitch" character. Her character is actually pretty nice and sweet. Kevin Pollak and Fred Willard also make appearances in an all too brief roles.

Another point of the movie... the casting. Don't get me wrong, I just praised the acting, but they needed some more thought or should have at least re-worked the script. Jennifer Lopez is supposed to be Italian. She doesn't put on an accident and has her usual voice. While Lopez was born in New York, we all know she has a Latin influence in her. Top that off with the guy who plays her father, who's supposed to be Italian... looks and seems to be Irish (his voice at least sounded Irish to be). Again, this should have been worked around a bit.

On a final note, I remember reading a long time ago that Jennifer Love Hewitt actually thought of the idea for this movie and was going to get story credit, produce it and possibly star in it. When the movie came out, I checked around and see that she really had no part in it after all. Perhaps someone already the idea that she thought of "in a dream"? Despite all this, if you love romantic comedies, you'll probably like this one too... though it's awkwardly paced and offers nothing new for the genre.

While Columbia/Tri-Star has had some pretty inconsistent transfers lately, "The Wedding Planner" is one of their better ones as of late thankfully. It starts out a bit soft but gets sharp rather quickly. Blemishes and little annoyances appear pretty often, not to mention some grain here and there. There is some shimmering too and a lot of edge enhancment which I found pretty annoying. Still, black levels are nice and colors are really accurate with good hues and fleshtones. They do stand out and make the film a bit nicer to look at. There is a good sharpness to it. The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and in the end, looks pretty good. Personally, I was surprised to see a movie like this filmed this wide.

"The Wedding Planner" features English 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks as well as English Dolby Surround tracks. The 5.1 Dolby Digital is surprisingly good. It won't shatter your home theater, but there are nice ample surrounds as well as some pretty good .1 LFE extension. The music helps make the film sound fuller through the channels while surrounds come through some interesting sequences. The surrounds make the movie sound a bit better and add more to it, but sometimes I felt there could have been some better mixing. For an example, listen to the horse sequence in chapter 17. You'll see what I mean. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear with nothing getting in its way. An English Dolby Surround track is also included, while English closed captions in addition to subtitles in English, French and Spanish are here as well.

Though it's not labeled as a special edition, "The Wedding Planner" has some pretty decent features fans of the movie will truly enjoy. A Audio Commentary with Director Adam Shankman and Writers Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis is included. They make some stupid jokes and offer some interesting production info. Thankfully, they are very energetic about the movie and seemed to have a great time making it. They always talk so you'll never be bored, but sometimes it becomes a shouting match. It's amazing how they remember a lot of pretty cool details. It's a very good track... I liked it better than the movie.

There are Deleted Scenes are presented in rough non-anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound with Optional Commentary by Director Adam Shankman. Shankman's a bit more serious here and a little less talkative, and it's obvious why the scenes were cut, but he does offer some explanation.

Two featurettes are included. The Making-Of is your standard featurette lasting a little over three minutes, complete with clips from the film and fluffy interviews with the cast and crew. There's also some behind-the-scenes clips. The Dancer And The Cowboy featurette has behind the scenes clips amd clips from the films. This one lasts three minutes and talks about the dance sequence and horse scene. It tries to be serious and has interviews... but considering the run time not much ground is really covered.

Filmographies are on the disc as well as some Theatrical Trailers. "The Wedding Planner" is improperly framed at 1.85:1 widescreen (and anamorphic) with 5.1 Dolby Digital, "My Best Friend's Wedding" is in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, "U-Turn" is in full frame and 5.1 Dolby Digital while "Anaconda" is in 5.1 Dolby Digital and full frame.

"The Wedding Planner" didn't win me over, but if you're a sap for a romantic comedy you'll enjoy it more than me. Complete with a good presentation and fun extras, you may want to RSVP to this DVD (HOHOHO).

(1.5/5 - NOT included in final score)

(4/5)

(3.5/5)

(2/5)

(3.5/5, NOT an average)

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