Made of Honor
In Made of Honor, Michelle Monaghan plays a witty, artistic, and beautiful woman, who, when she gets engaged, asks her best friend to be her maid of honor. That best friend just happens to be a man. It's a case of art imitating life, given that when the actress got married in 2005, her "maid" of honor was also a man. She told USA Today that when she read the script she said, "I know all about this! Sign me up!"
When Julia Roberts took her turn as the "best man" in 1997's My Best Friend's Wedding, the idea of men and women flouting convention in their choice of wedding attendants was a bit more novel than now. Once upon a time the idea of a man and a woman having a relationship that wasn't primarily driven by some sort of sexual attraction was strange. Society just didn't create the environment for it. The male and female spheres were distinct to the extent that home and hearth (and marriage and sex) was the locus of most engagement between the sexes.
But now men and women go to school together, compete against each other from early ages, supervise and work alongside one another in the workplace. I'm not implying that sexual attraction isn't a significant factor in relationships between people, but there is now a vast social landscape of shared experiences in which relationships between men and women can take root and grow into important and abiding friendships. I've been to a number of weddings in the last few years that have featured men and women on both sides of the bride and groom.
Of course, it's also true that you might be in love with your best friend.
And in Made of Honor, this is the case. Patrick Dempsey, of Grey's Anatomy and Dr. McDreamy fame, plays Tom, an incorrigible womanizer who meets Hannah (Monaghan) in college while trying to bed her roommate. Hannah is seemingly the only woman on campus who is able to resist Tom's caddish charms. And, of course, Tom is taken by this exotic creature. Fast forward 10 years and the two are living the high life in Manhattan. Tom sleeps with a different hottie most nights, but spends his days and all important occasions with his best friend, Hannah. The arrangement works well for Tom, but despite her bravado on the night they met, Hannah clearly pines for the romantic affections of her BFF.
But Hannah is not one to mope. When a work trip takes her to Scotland, she lets herself get swept away by a strapping fellow with a deep brogue. Her absence had quickened Tom's heart, and her whirlwind romance with the perfect man puts him on immediate notice—speak now or forever hold your peace. When Hannah asks Tom to be her maid of honor, his mission becomes to blow up the affair from the inside and, as his basketball-playing buddies drill into him, "Steal the bride!"
This is all well and good. I was a big fan of My Best Friend's Wedding, and even the most predictable plots can woo an audience with an unpredictable mix of dialogue, characters, and laughs. Alas, Made of Honor is like a paint-by-the numbers exercise in filmmaking, sealed with a misogynistic lacquer. For all her talent and beauty, Hannah is like a puppy trailing after one man, then another. And Tom treats women like moving props with which he can have sex. It's not at all clear what, besides their history together, commends him to Hannah as a man "made of honor."