My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)
July 5, 2023 10:27 AM - Subscribe

When a woman's long-time friend reveals he's engaged, she realizes she loves him herself and sets out to get him, with only days before the wedding.

Childhood friends Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) and Michael O'Neal (Dermot Mulroney) had a deal to marry each other if they were still single by age 28. Now, four days before her 28th birthday, O'Neil announces that he's marrying a gorgeous 20-year-old named Kimberly (Cameron Diaz). Suddenly realizing that she's actually in love with him, Julianne vows to stop the wedding at all costs. However, when she is appointed maid of honor, things get even more complex.

Betsy Bozdech: Directed with a light, quirky touch by Australian P.J. Hogan (Muriel's Wedding), My Best Friend's Wedding is one of the movies — like Erin Brockovich and Mystic Pizza — that makes Roberts accessible and real; it's much easier to sympathize with her when she's falling on her face than when she's winning the guy without lifting a finger. It's also a fun, funny romantic comedy that, despite a few weaknesses (some trite patches in the script, Mulroney's somewhat dull Michael), is entertaining from start to finish.

Rita Kempley: While it’s easy to forgive the Pretty Woman anything, her chicanery would make much more sense if the milquetoast Michael O’Neal (Dermot Mulroney) were worth the fuss. All’s fair in love, so they say, only what Michael and Julianne share is not romantic passion or even real kinship, but a neurotic attachment. Though they made a transition from lovers to just friends nine years earlier, Michael still carries a torch for Julianne. Unable to make long-term commitments, she has been wholly content with the arrangement. Her complacency is shattered, however, when Michael announces his upcoming marriage to Kimmie (Cameron Diaz), a beautiful billionaire’s daughter who innocently and affably thwarts all Julianne’s bitchy plans.

Margaret A. McGurk: Just when it was beginning to seem that solid, entertaining romantic comedy was a thing of the past, along comes My Best Friend's Wedding.

Not only does this modern-day screwball romp manage to be romantic and comical, it also offers Julia Roberts a chance to shine again in the kind of movie that she does best. And she gets to put that walloping infectious laugh of hers to good use.

posted by Carillon (7 comments total)
I love the fake out with Julia Roberts ending up as the 'loser' and realizing it's the right for everyone. Also great to see new Comisky park even and the White Sox having a decent role to play.
posted by Carillon at 4:52 PM on July 5, 2023

This is another "the actor/actress makes it work" plots. I notice a theme in the posting of movies lately.... Normally this would be a bitchy, mean thing, but Julia Roberts makes it work. And extra bonus points to Rupert Everett for same.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:25 PM on July 5, 2023

I love this movie. Julia Roberts’ character is horrible, but Rupert Everett and Cameron Diaz are so charming-and the music is fab.
posted by purenitrous at 9:30 PM on July 6, 2023

P.J. Hogan was chosen, by Julia Roberts if Wikipedia is to be believed, to direct this movie on the strengths of Muriel’s Wedding (fanfare thread). So I’m judging one against the other which is probably a bit unfair.

There is obviously a lot of thematic overlap. My cold dead heart does love a RomCom where the happy ever after absolutely does not involve the romantic leads ending up together. Cameron Diaz is allowed to be daggy, and messy, and absolutely gorgeous regardless, which is best Cameron Diaz.

It’s just a shame that a Julia Roberts vehicle in 1997 was never going to really lean into how awful her character is, in the way Hogan did with Muriel. And how that was ok, because we can all be awful sometimes and yet still worthy of love. Yay romance!

And yeah, Toni Collette is just a heck of an actor, sorry Julia.
posted by arha at 5:07 AM on July 7, 2023

More than anything, we wanted to see a sequel of Rupert Everett and Julie Roberts just getting into escapades.
posted by Ber at 8:07 AM on July 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

When I was stressed about the result of the 2020 election, I shut off my phone and watched this movie. Perfect escape. Aged decently well.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:41 PM on July 8, 2023

While I can’t say I love this movie (the cringey parts are still too cringey for me), if it’s on I’ll always watch it. And I love the “Say a Prayer for You” and the ending (also “Say a Prayer for You”) scenes so much that I will pull either or both up on YouTube just to watch them on a bad day. Rupert and Julia together are delicious.

I played it for my stepdaughter a few years back, who has a limited tolerance for the films my Gen X friends and I adore. And after it was over it was so fun seeing her still wrapping her head around an old school rom-com where the lead - Julia Roberts - doesn’t get the guy. Even though the whole time she was disliking her so much and didn’t want her to and was questioning my judgment for liking this movie. And then - she didn’t. And me saying, “Nope, she’s the bad guy!”’

I suspect she watched it again later that week.
posted by Mchelly at 3:27 AM on July 10, 2023

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