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Originally published Friday, May 2, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Movie review

Made of Honor: We've been down this aisle before

MOVIE REVIEW Setting: A Hollywood conference room. Time: Oh, maybe a year ago or so. Cast: Anonymous corporate types in well-fitting suits...

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 2 stars

"Made of Honor," with Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan, Kevin McKidd, Kathleen Quinlan, Sydney Pollack. Directed by Paul Weiland, from a screenplay by Adam Sztykiel, Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont. 101 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language. Several theaters.

Setting: A Hollywood conference room. Time: Oh, maybe a year ago or so. Cast: Anonymous corporate types in well-fitting suits; mostly male.

Anonymous Hollywood Suit 1: "OK, I've got it. Let's make a romantic comedy about a man who's in love with a woman who's marrying somebody else, and he has to stop the wedding and tell her he loves her before it's too late."

Quiet Underling in the Corner, to herself: "I think that was 'My Best Friend's Wedding,' if you make Julia Roberts a guy."

AHS 2: "And let's make the centerpiece of the movie a wedding in Scotland, with lots of kilts and pipes and castles and, um, haggis!"

QUC, to her bagel: "That was 'Four Weddings and a Funeral.' "

AHS 3: "And let's make the man and the woman best friends who do cute Manhattan things together all the time! And talk about all the other people they're dating! And have countless recreational hours with which to do these cute things!"

QUC, reflectively: " 'When Harry Met Sally ... ' "

General murmurs around the room: "Perfect!" "So original!" "Hey, do you think we can get that guy from 'Grey's Anatomy?' "

OK, I'm bringing down the curtain on this tedious little drama, which is of course pure speculation. But you can't watch "Made of Honor," a passable but entirely recycled rom-com, without getting a little cynical about how big movies get made. In trying to reach that elusive female audience, the makers of "Made of Honor" appear to have cobbled a plot together from several previous rom-com hits, then threw in Dr. McDreamy. The result is a movie that's often enjoyable but never as good as the ones it's stealing from.

Tom (Patrick Dempsey) is one of those guys invented for the movies: He's handsome, charming, rich (he developed those cardboard collars that go around your Starbucks cup), idle and perfectly coifed, and he goes through women with the glee of a hungry teenager at a midnight buffet. An exception, though, is Hannah (Michelle Monaghan), his best friend since college, with whom he enjoys a close but platonic friendship. All of this fun comes to an end, though, when Hannah announces her engagement to a Scottish bloke (Kevin McKidd), and Tom, helping with wedding preparations, realizes to his chagrin that he desperately wants to marry Hannah himself.

Dempsey's a natural at this sort of thing, and his breezy charm combined with Monaghan's low-key sweetness almost makes the movie work — romantic comedy, after all, is mostly about chemistry (well, along with sparkly dialogue and spiffy outfits). But "Made of Honor" loses points for its surprisingly mean-spirited screenplay (credited to three writers) filled with one-note female supporting characters: the scheming golddigger, the catty ex-girlfriend, the crazy stalker/blogger, the overweight bridesmaid used as a punch line. Even Hannah is introduced with a tacky sexual sight gag. Did the filmmakers forget that women are their target audience? Did they think that as long as they show us a wedding and some pretty dresses, we won't notice all the negative stereotypes?

Someday, Hollywood will make a truly original and witty rom-com; someday, Diet Coke will run from kitchen faucets. In the meantime, I'm going to watch "My Best Friend's Wedding" again. Oh, wait, I just did.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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