When Julianne's male best friend asks her to be his best "man", Julianne suddenly realises that he is the man of her dreams and vows to stop the wedding whatever it takes.
Australian director P.J. Hogan may well be in serious danger of being pigeonholed into forever filming marriages, if the subject matter of his follow-up to Muriel's Wedding is anything to go by. More importantly, though, this patchy but oh-so-cute confection provides Julia Roberts with yet another comeback. And the fact that this was a summer smash in the States, trouncing such big-budget fare as Speed 2, is hardly surprising as this is Roberts at her most crowd-pleasing - all Titian curls and big smiles, feisty yet vulnerable and loveable at the same time.
The set-up is one of love triangular dimensions with Roberts sports writer intent on nuptial sabotage. She had made a pact with her best friend Michael O'Neal (Mulroney) that if neither had found true love by the age of 28 they would marry each other - which suits her just fine, having always adored him from afar. But just a few weeks shy of the significant birthday, he calls to tell her he is engaged to heiress Kimmy Wallace (Diaz) and the wedding is to be that weekend. Having recovered from the shock, and confided in gay pal George (Everett), Julianne heads for the celebrations with just one aim in mind: nuptial sabotage...
It doesn't prove easy. For Kimmy, far from being the sort of other woman whose downfall the audience would relish, is beautiful, wealthy and -here's the catch - sweet-natured. What's more, Michael is so genuinely in love with her that every attempt by Julianne to split the couple up falls flat at every level.
While Hogan's new spin on an old theme is cleverer than most (Roberts becomes the unlikely villain, and the eventual outcome is not the one you might expect), it proves detrimental to the comedy, and all too frequently the film is bogged down in lengthy stretches of soul-searching and sentiment.
Diaz exudes sweetness and dignity, but the real revelation here is Everett, whose sidekick (far more interesting than Mulroney's thankless, cardboard cut-out of a hero) is a true original, camp, razor-witted and so mirth-inducing it's a pity he isn't on screen for longer.
The set-pieces are, for the most part, winningly funny (to say nothing of an opening credits sequence among the year's most inspired) and Roberts, despite being required to fall through doors and tumble from chairs more often than is truly necessary, handles the material with exactly the right level of skill and charm.