Tom (Dempsey) and Hannah (Monaghan) are best friends, but just as he decides he wants more, she announces her engagement to Scottish Duke Colin (McKidd). Tom reluctantly agrees to be Maid of Honour at their Scottish wedding in the hope that Hannah will re
Another month, another wedding comedy. We could spend a whole review pointing out comparisons with Four Weddings And A Funeral, Wedding Crashers, 27 Dresses and even - yikes - The Wedding Date. Early signs that this effort will easily trump the latter four, however, soon give way to a disappointingly unoriginal entry to the genre.
The casting scores the first point. Michelle Monaghan and Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey spark off each other immediately as a smart-talking platonic pair clearly destined for each other. His cynical New Yorker turn is taken one step further than usual: Tom is a ruthless womaniser who refuses to see a date two nights in a row (“I don’t do back-to-backs”). The legion of adoring model-types prepared to accept this won’t win over either realists or feminists, but his philosophies are sharp enough to amuse, and his easy relationship with Monaghan’s Hannah prevents us from dismissing him as a hopeless misogynist. Hannah is also cast in a flattering light. She’s contrastingly sweet, bright and down to earth, if occasionally under-developed and disappointingly shocked by the presence of sex toys at her bridal shower (perhaps there’s a cultural difference here).
When the classic love obstacle strides into the picture in the strapping shape of Kevin McKidd, the wit keeps coming. McKidd’s Colin dismays Tom with his hilariously overstated perfection, trouncing him in everything from basketball to the trouser department. For good measure, he also distils excellent whisky, sings love songs, tosses cabers and is a honest-to-goodness Duke. Nevertheless, the story takes a distinct downward turn when the wedding party heads off to Colin’s native Scotland. Enter the pursed-lipped, tartan-touting, whisky-swigging Scots in their stately castle, all too keen to frown on the American invasion. There’s no fun or originality in a stereotypical portrayal that’s borderline xenophobic in its depiction of a narrow-minded clan and plain ridiculous looking to British audiences.
Still, the chemistry continues despite the increasingly sentiment and the comic misfires (that caber scene, ‘comedy’ thick Scottish brogues). Ditto the supporting cast: sitcom regular Busy Philipps shows breakout promise in her role as a competitive bridesmaid determined to outdo Tom. It’s just a shame the plot’s so predictable: an early hint of a twist proved to be either our imagination or the victim of an on-set rewrite.
A strong opening, bursting with wit and vigour, gives way to a predictable, patronising and immensely lazy second half. Could have been so much more.