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MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING: SPECIAL EDITION

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett, Philip Bosco
Director: P.J. Hogan
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French, Spanish & Portuguese Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 105 Minutes
Release Date: August 28, 2001

“Jules, do you really love him…or is this just about winning?”

Film ***1/2

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for My Best Friend's Wedding. I've never been the world's biggest Julia Roberts fan, so I can easily label this her best film to date, with Notting Hill at a close second. It's a sincere an honest romantic comedy, which is a rare case in Hollywood moviemaking, and that's another reason I have admiration for it. But perhaps the biggest reason I appreciate this movie is that it helped bring its costar, Cameron Diaz, into the spotlight and illustrate that she was more than a beautiful face, but an impressively strong actress as well. In addition, the overall plot is without a doubt something I'm sure many people can relate to.

Roberts plays Julianne Potter, a successful Chicago food critic whose longtime best friend has been Michael (Dermot Mulroney). The two shared a relationship before splitting up after college, but they are now closer-than-ever friends. They also made a pact after splitting up, that if they were to still be single by age twenty eight, they would marry each other. She does admit that she has had feelings for him since then. One night, she gets a call from him, thinking that it's a reconsideration of getting back together, but it's not. Michael has called to inform her that he's getting married in no less than four days time. Right then does Julianne feel a sudden burst of anger and jealousy.

Michael's bride to be is the wealthy and extremely beautiful Kimmy Wallace (Diaz), whose father owns a huge cable television empire, not to mention the Chicago White Sox in addition. What Julianne can't understand is why Michael would agree to marry someone else so spontaneously, when she feels that he has truly had feelings for nobody else but her. Julianne makes it her goal to thwart the wedding and steal Michael away from the bride to be, but it's not that easy.

Upon meeting Kimmy for the first time, she is so good-hearted and cheery, that she immediately asks Julianne to be her maid of honor. Kimmy's act of sheer niceness is a good countermeasure that even Julianne herself couldn't have predicted, but that still doesn't prevent her from going through with her plan. After going to great lengths to embarrass her, such as a howling funny moment when Roberts forces Diaz to sing at a karaoke bar, she comes up with a backup plan. She uses her gay best friend, and editor George, played by Rupert Everett in a scene stealing performance, to set a jealously trap for Michael, which does have a somewhat notable effect on him.

The smart screenplay by Ronald Bass also boasts some impressively surprising results. About every romantic comedy that Julia Roberts has helmed usually concludes with her together with the man of her dreams, but My Best Friend's Wedding makes her character into a somewhat devilish woman who can't let go of someone so close to her that easy. It's a wonderful change of pace for Roberts, and I respect her for taking this role in that regard. And Ms. Diaz is rightfully cast in the role of the charming rival, and even though we like the notion of Michael's relationship with Julianne, we end up rooting for Kimmy respectively. Mulroney is convincing as the groom in a compromising position, and Everett is remarkably funny as Julianne's posing husband to be.

Funny, touching, and at times truthful, My Best Friend's Wedding is at the top of the romantic comedy level, and is likely to stay there for years to come.

Video ****

Columbia Tri Star has taken yet another of its early released titles, and re-issued it to Special Edition perfection. Having never caught a glimpse of the original disc, I can't make a comparison between these editions, but I can't certainly note that the transfer on this new disc is of pure, stellar quality, which is usually the custom at Columbia Tri Star. Picture quality is consistently clear and crisp, and avoided of any picture flaws whatsoever.

Audio ***

This is a perfect use of audio for a simple, dialogue driven, romantic comedy. The 5.1 Digital presentation delivers very well on My Best Friend's Wedding, with dialogue and lively music coming through in stellar perfection.

Features ***1/2

As expected, CTS has upgraded the level of extras for this release, which is the driven point to these Special Edition releases. The new issuing of My Best Friend's Wedding boasts a nice bouquet of extras, including two behind the scenes featurettes; an exclusive documentary titled “Unveiled: The Making of My Best Friend's Wedding” and a short HBO On the Set featurette. Also included is a segment titled “Wedding Do's and Don'ts”, a sing a song to the song “Say A Little Prayer”, a Wedding Album featuring behind the scenes footage and trivia facts, filmographies, and trailers for this film and two other CTS releases, It Could Happen to You and About Last Night.

Summary:

My Best Friend's Wedding is a pleasingly feel good time, and an extremely well written romantic comedy, and is fueled by an amazing cast, and now is a grand Special Edition disc. I only ask when CTS will issue Special Edition of The Fifth Element, which I hope will be very soon!