Published Dec 01, 2000"The Wedding Planner" starts off with some false promise before rapidly descending into a train wreck of convoluted plot points and heavy-handed romantic cliches. Trying to emulate the tone of 1940s romantic comedy sophistication, the movie begins with an appropriately light mood and performances that alternate between quick banter and pratfalls as it introduces Mary (Jennifer Lopez), the control-freak wedding planner whose life seems suddenly perfect when she meets her dream guy Steve (Matthew McConaughey) and lands a huge wedding account for New Money heiress Fran (Bridgette Wilson) - until she discovers that Steve is the groom-to-be of her new important job.
And although Lopez and McConaughey are not and will never be Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, they do start things rolling with some decent chemistry and tension as they try to deny their attraction to each other and carry on with the business of planning his wedding. If the film had continued on this route, it probably would have been a fine piece of fluff. Instead, it degenerates into a sloppy mess of saccharine moments of romantic earnestness, useless subplots, one-dimensional performances, and nonsensical twists and turns which all culminate in a bizarrely anticlimactic climax that glosses over any and all plot inconsistencies in the mad dash to reach the Hollywood happy ending.
The lead performances match the general arc of the film by starting off almost likeable before falling apart completely, when any chemistry that these two might have had off the top is gone completely by the time they start confessing their true feelings for one another. The supporting cast is comprised of over-the-top caricatures, such as Bridgette Wilson's bitchy bride, Judy Greer's annoyingly wacky assistant to Mary, Alex Rocco's accentily-challenged Italian father to Mary, and especially Justin Chambers as Massimo, the young Italian immigrant that Mary's dad wants her to wed and whose character tries to combine comic relief and folksy old country wisdom and doesn't succeed at either. Only Charles Kimbrough and Joanna Gleason turn in decently funny performances as the New Money parents of Fran.
Overwritten, over-scored, over-acted, and over-directed, "The Wedding Planner" for all its sophisticated aspirations, does not contain an ounce of subtlety. It manages to undermine any humour and charm it starts out with by a universally clumsy execution and gets to the point long before its insufferable conclusion where it is just embarrassing to watch.