My Best Friend’s Wedding – By Peter J. Hannah

As lovers, sports reporter Michael (Dermot Mulroney) and food critic Julianne (Julia Roberts) made perfect friends, which Hollywood logic reminds us rarely works in a relationship. So they split but remained close, even going so far as to agree that if neither of them were married by the time they turned 28, they’d marry each other.

Days before Michael’s 28th birthday, however, he informs Julianne that he’s met someone else – the perfect someone else (Cameron Diaz) – and they’re getting married, which throws open the doors to Julianne’s true feelings for Michael and kick starts this comedy of errors into high gear. If nothing else, “”Wedding”” does introduce us to a new side of Julia. As Julianne, the characteristically pleasing star schemes, scams and connives her way towards her own selfish goals. It’s a difficult task, making the pride of mainstream America as despicable as the script calls for her to be, and also as agreeable as the studio rightfully demands she be, script be damned. After all, who wants to see Julia the heartbreaker, or Julia the home-wrecker? Ultimately, it’s a job director P.J. Hogan just can’t complete, and the film splits fairly evenly under the weight of its own casting dilemma. It doesn’t help that Diaz, as the other woman in Michael’s life, is so personable and winning in a role that could easily have been buried under Julia’s fiery mane, or flamed out by the sparkle from Julia’s brilliant smile. It also doesn’t help that Rupert Everett, as gay editor George, the “”woman”” in Julianne’s life, interjects at key moments to remind this foul temptress that what she’s plotting is wrong. And lord knows that, by the aforementioned Hollywood logic, Julia can never be wrong. Those plot lines are reserved for the likes of Sandra Bullock. Despite its casting guffaw, “”Wedding”” does produce periodic bright spots, though most are provided by Diaz and Everett in splendid supporting turns. Hogan proves he can spin an original aura from this domesticated material, which he achieves by alternately lighting his leads in the softest of glows and turning them loose in a Chicago that only exists in the films of old. In fact, all of “”Wedding”” possesses the distinct feel of a classic film, right down to the impromptu group sing-along, though it immediately dates itself by using the kitchy Dionne Warwick single, “”Say a Little Prayer.”” How is it that spectacularly cheesy sequences like the restaurant-based musical number, or even the public bathroom confessional (you’ll see), are perfectly acceptable for the good of the plot, but I just can’t stomach seeing Roberts performing yet another pratfall for no good reason? Either she’s Princess Grace or she’s Lucille Ball, folks. It’s almost impossible to have both.Grade: CTHE EXTRASColumbia continues their long line of impressive collector’s edition discs for it’s catalogue of crowd-favorite titles. Officially dubbed a “”Special Edition,”” the “”Wedding”” DVD does earn its title, presenting fans of the film enough extras to warrant adding it to their collection.Utilizing the wedding album motif, the DVD presents a few original features, including a making of entitled “”Unveiled,”” and a short piece on wedding do’s and don’ts. The HBO “”Making Of”” featurette is also included, as is a photo album of shots from the finished product. Wanna-be Karaoke fans who desperately model themselves after the bashfully tone deaf Diaz can also jump right to the “”Say a Little Prayer”” sequence and sing along.Finally, the “”Wedding”” disc leaps over to your CD-ROM player, where you can participate in a “”Who’s the one for me?”” quiz, that also uses slides from the movie. The featurettes are fluffy, but fun, and the quiz is entertaining. If you’re into this type of thing, you’ll enjoy the extras.Grade: B-OVERALL EXPERIENCEWhile not one of her finest, “”My Best Friend’s Wedding”” ranks up there with Roberts’ most successful films, though I have a hard time figuring out why. She gets the rug stolen right out from under her feet by the delightful Everett (who couldn’t do the same in Madonna’s “”The Next Best Thing”” for some reason) and a bubbly Diaz. Still, Julia has an undeniable fan base, and they should clamor to this disc like cows to the barn in a thunderstorm. Lucky for them they will not be disappointed.Final Grade: C