‘The Wedding Planner’ (2001) Review

Mary (Jennifer Lopez) is a successful wedding planner in New York whose own romantic life is pretty much DOA. That is until a handsome pediatric doctor saves her from a runaway dumpster in the middle of the street. The two are instantly attracted to each other… at least until Mary realizes that the doctor, Steve Edison (Matthew McConaughey), is the fiance of her new client, Fran. Fran (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras) is a wealthy client whose business will cement Mary’s promotion to partner. As the three begin to plan the upcoming nuptials, Mary and Steve spend more time together and find themselves falling in love.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I watched The Wedding Planner, and I can’t really remember what I initially thought of it. But I have to say, I found it really cute and humorous this go around, despite my obvious questions and observations. Such as… an engaged Steve attending the movie in the park with Penny (yay Judy Greer!) and Mary when it was incredibly obvious that Penny was working on setting the two of them up… and why Mary didn’t put her foot down about Massimo (Justin Chambers) much earlier in the movie, instead of pretending to be engaged to him. If a man tells important clients that you’re engaged when you’re not, you correct him, you don’t just look exasperated. Come on!

Anyway, I think Lopez and McConaughey had some really enjoyable chemistry together. I was never a big fan of Lopez, at least not until I saw her amazing performance in Hustlers, so maybe I’m just rewatching some of her earlier movies with a new sense of appreciation. McConaughey has his good and his bad moments but I can admit he’s a pretty good actor. His role as Steve doesn’t require a lot of acting chops, but he makes Steve a likable guy, despite stepping out on his fiance by falling for the wedding planner. The important thing is that I could understand why Mary was attracted to him, which doesn’t happen all the time in these movies. His speech to Mary outside of her apartment door was, to me, incredibly romantic, and my favorite part of the movie.

The supporting characters were pretty great as well. Wilson-Sampras was perfectly fine as Fran. I was glad they didn’t make her overbearing or high maintenance in order to vilify her, which would have seemed like the obvious route to go to get the audience on board with Mary and Steve’s romance. Instead, they gave Fran and Steve an adult relationship, allowing them to communicate as they came to the realization that perhaps they had outgrown one another. Joanna Gleason and Charles Kimbrough got a lot of laughs as Frans boozy parents as well. And of course, every rom-com gets a boost whenever Judy Greer has a role, no matter how small.

Adam Shankman kept the movie moving at a tolerable pace and I loved that the majority of the movie centered around Steve and Mary’s blossoming romance, rather than delving off into unnecessary side plots as some rom-coms tend to do. They didn’t push some “insta-love” between them, and instead created a mutual attraction that became something deeper in a believable way. I really do think it was Lopez and McConaughey’s chemistry that made this re-watch so successful for me.

As a side note, I do think having Love Don’t Cost A Thing play over the credits was a really odd choice. It did not fit with the movie whatsoever, but given that Lopez’s “J.Lo” album was released the same week as the film, I suppose the promotion was in the contract.

Author: Romona Comet

"I'm probably watching a rom-com right now."