Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's Not Love. It's Codependency. Made of Honor Review (Review #8)


MADE OF HONOR

It is a truth universally acknowledged in modern romantic comedies that a man can screw all the women he wants because every woman he meets not only wants to get screwed by him but believes she should be treated like a bargain basement hooker in exchange for the pleasure of his time.

This has been a curious trend in what passes for rom-coms, one where the male lead is catnip for women, all women want him, and the only one that has some sense of pride and/or brains eventually will learn her life was empty and meaningless until she finally falls to his charms. Then and only then will she realize that now, to quote the song, Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life.

Made of Honor is in that vein, but curiously, it goes one worse in making everyone either incredibly dumb or incredibly narcissistic.

We start in 1998 when Tom (Patrick Dempsey) meets Hannah (Michelle Monaghan) in college in the cutest way: he tries to practically rape her. Actually, he's just trying to have sex with her roommate who had agreed to meet him in the room and mistook Hannah's sleeping form for the other girl. Hannah's horrified, Tom (who already is a slut) merely confused. It's this night that a friendship emerges between Tom & Hannah. We also learn Tom's invented a revolutionary product: the coffee collar, which will prevent people from burning themselves when picking up a cup.

Fast forward ten years. Hannah looks on with bemused disapproval on Tom's many, many, many affairs with women eager to be treated like doormats just for a chance to spend a night with McDreamy. She seems happy to accompany him everywhere, even to his father's sixth wedding (played with glee by Sidney Pollack in his final screen role--what a way to ruin an Oscar-winning reputation). However, her job as an art restorer finally has her leave Tom's side: six weeks in Scotland.

In that time, Tom falls apart: he can't find any other woman who knows what he likes to snack on or take a bit of cake from her plate. He goes so far as to wake her at 3 in the morning just so he can tell her banalities. With her absence, Tom realizes...he's in love with her. He'll tell her once she returns, but wouldn't you know it--she comes back engaged, and engaged to the Perfect Man (former Journeyman/future Mc-Something Kevin McKidd). Being her best friend, Hannah asks Tom to be her Maid of Honor (hence the pun of the title) and he agrees, just for the chance to ruin her wedding and, to quote his buddies, "steal the bride".

Let's start by asking the obvious question: why would these two want to be friends (let alone best friends) with the other? Tom's never treated ANY woman with a modicum of respect, while Hannah should be independent enough to find people who will respect her. If they existed in real life, neither of them would want to be around the other.

However, the first real problem is that this is not a romantic comedy. For it to be one, there has to be romance. As I watched, one thought kept emerging and reemerging in my mind:

This Isn't Love. It's Codependency.

Tom's never thought of HER feelings. He's never cared that she's almost thirty and has no romantic relationship or life outside of him. He seems oblivious to the fact that she has few if any friends beyond him. If her leaving him for six weeks makes him so miserable, what would happen were she to go on vacation, or a girl's night out? (I figure she didn't: her whole life it seems, is devoted simply to cater to HIS needs/wants. This was confirmed in the movie when we see the wallpaper on her cell phone--it's of them together--and when we see a picture of them from a previous vacation).

He comes to the conclusion that he's in love with her only because she knows him so well. In short, he's so in love with HIMSELF that he decides he loves a woman because she has subjugated HER life for him. When she finds another man who actually cares about HER and treats HER like a Duchess (more on that later) it sends him into a panic, and he is determined to keep her in HIS life by any means necessary. Never was such obscene narcissism portrayed as romantic.
Another problem came to the forefront with a line. When Tom spends the day with Hannah to 'help' her in his role as Maid of Honor, she says that he didn't have to "clear his day" to do so. It's at this point when my friend Fidel Gomez and I look at each other in sheer disbelief. "Cleared his day of WHAT?" we asked each other almost simultaneously and incredulously. "He does do anything except play basketball," Gomez said. "And schtup beautiful women," I added. The only outside activity Tom ever engaged in was playing basketball with his friends (and one character who added nothing expect a chance to poke fun at him). He never does anything. As much as I love Starbucks, I don't think they sell enough for him to live such a lavish lifestyle year in, year out.

Add to this sorry mix Colin McMurray, Hannah's fianceé. He's suppose to be perfect: rich, handsome, incredibly endowed (does anyone else think a group of straight men gawking at another man's penis is just a touch creepy), and finally, a Duke. A genuine, titled Duke. Here's where I think a brief explanation on titles is required.

In order for Colin to be a duke he would have to be the eldest surviving son of the previous Duke or the son of the reigning monarch. Since both of Colin's parents are alive and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state in Scotland, how can he be a duke (unless it's of Earl). I could believe a viscount, or earl, or even a knight (Sir Colin), but a duke? Furthermore, when they are in Scotland for the wedding, no one ever addresses him as His Royal Highness the Duke of ..., but as plain Colin. I doubt anyone would refer to them as Phillip Mountbatten or Andrew Windsor instead of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh or HRH the Duke of York. It's patent nonsense and shows how wildly inconsistent, illogical, and poorly thought-out  the film is.

We're suppose to believe that Colin, Duke of Earl, and Hannah travelled together for a month and will get married in two weeks. That lead me to wonder if those four weeks were tied to the six weeks she was suppose to be working or if the museum just let her take gobs and gobs of vacation time. Yet for all the time they spent together, she was unaware that Colin played the bagpipes every night (I guess they hadn't slept together in all the time). I digress to point out HRH Edward, the Duke of Windsor did the same thing (though not every night I believe), much to the annoyance of his wife Wallis. At least she had been his mistress beforehand and knew he did that. They might have had real comedy if they had shown Colin perform His Royal Highness' other hobby: needlepoint. I digress.

Here, when Colin doesn't let Hannah take a slice of cake from his plate, it's only then that she realizes Tom may be a better fit. What, they never shared an intimate dinner in those six weeks? I kept wondering what the rush was.

You also have some truly awful scenes. Perhaps it's to my credit or a sign of my naïveté, but at Hannah's bridal shower I had to have "thunder beads" explained to me. My friend Fidel Gomez was especially bothered by the fight between Tom and Hannah afterwards (Tom had taken the credit for the party). It was an extremely gentle fight which had no circumstances and was basically a waste of our time...and a chance to have an elderly woman snap thunder beads around her neck like a necklace. (Yes, I've forgotten what exactly they are, and take the course of innocence being bliss).


You also have the journey to Scotland. While you have beautiful Scottish scenery to admire, the bridesmaids were not funny, the future in-laws horrid, the Highland Games embarrassing (do you think any of the women said the medieval outfits were a touch too much), and the church scene clichéd to the max.

I will confess to having laughed once. It was at hearing a particular line spoken by a bridesmaid who had slept with and been dumped by Tom. I laughed because I thought this could be one of those immortal lines that will be remembered by generations of film goers. Here's a partial list:
  • You ain't heard nothing yet (The Jazz Singer).
  • I want to be alone (Grand Hotel).
  • Made it, Ma! Top of the world! (White Heat)
  • Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn (Gone With the Wind).
  • Here's looking at you, kid (Casablanca).
  • Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up (Sunset Boulevard).
  • May the Force be with you (Star Wars).
  • I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse (The Godfather).
  • I'll be back (The Terminator).
And now, add to those:
  • Service me, bitch (Made of Honor).

I feel bad for Michelle Monaghan. She's proven she can act in Gone Baby Gone, so why is she wasting her talent in nonsense like this or Eagle Eye? Kevin McKidd may be good (I was one of the five viewers of Journeyman where he did an excellent American accent and have heard good things about his performance in Rome), but even with his native accent he can't rise above the shoddy material.

As for Dempsey, this was clearly a vehicle for him, capitalizing on his success on Grey's Anatomy to get him back into film and perhaps erase memories of such early efforts as Can't Buy Me Love or Loverboy. He didn't. Worse off is Sidney Pollack. He did the best job as Tom's philandering father, but to think this was his final film...sad, so sad.

Ultimately, the film is misnamed. Tom isn't Made of Honor. He's actually quite dishonorable, along with slutty, shallow, lazy (any man who has no job by choice is lazy) and devoid of any qualities that a sensible woman would want in a spouse.

I conclude with this: Bogart was no pussy.

1 comment:

  1. Wow...this must have really been bad for you to give it xxx. The way it seems like, it was kinda like My Bestfriend's Wedding, which I thought was ok there were parts that I enjoyed, but just the way you summarized it.I'll be sure to stay away from this.

    ReplyDelete

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