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Dempsey and Monaghan

Taking the cake

Movies | Made of Honor high jinx runs away with its title

Issue: "Return of the Lion," May 17, 2008

Romantic comedies are formulaic and inherently unrealistic, but Made of Honor takes the cake, starting with its title. Tom (Patrick Dempsey), a womanizing Manhattanite, realizes too late that he is in love with his best friend, Hannah (Michelle Monaghan). Hannah asks Tom to be her maid of honor, and he accepts, intending to steal her from her worthy fiancé, and high jinx ensue.

The title implies something that turns out to be untrue-Tom is neither honest with Hannah nor are his intentions made of honor, resulting in a forced and unwieldy reformation. If the story seems familiar, it is-the plot bears a striking resemblance to the 1997 Julia Roberts flick My Best Friend's Wedding.

These people's lives bear little resemblance to reality. Tom, who struck it rich by inventing the cardboard "coffee collars" that wrap hot Starbucks, is so wealthy that he has nothing to do but chase girls and play basketball. And not only has Hannah's rich, royal, Scottish, castle-dwelling fiancé proposed a cinematically convenient two-week-long engagement, but he can dunk a basketball, sing a ballad, scour the Scottish countryside on horseback for rare plants, and play the bagpipes with skill and aplomb.

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Still, as a member of a purely entertaining genre, Made of Honor might be forgiven. Dempsey and Monaghan have a delightful on-screen chemistry, and Hannah is the kind of funny and smart heroine you can root for. But the film deserves its PG-13 rating for its sexuality, language, and reliance on unsubtle, unnecessary innuendo instead of clever writing to provide the laughs.

Made of Honor explores the oft-asked question-can men and women be "just friends"? Tom acknowledges that their friendship provides so much emotional support and intimacy that he seeks only physical involvement with other women. It's only when his role in Hannah's life is usurped that he recognizes his feelings-and realizes that he treats relationships as something to serve his own needs.

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