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Made of Honor (2008)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 9/16/2008

All Ratings out of
Movie: 1/2
Audio: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/18/2008

Have you ever known two people who were perfect for each other and everyone could see it but them? Yeah, me neither. But, this is a favorite story idea for movie and TV shows. We are introduced to a man and woman who, even if they are incompatible, would be the perfect couple if only they could see past their differences. Usually, only we, the audience, can see this, but at other times, characters in the story can see it as well. In the right hands, as in the classic television show Moonlighting, this concept can work. But, when not handled properly, it can be very hackneyed. This idea is at the center of Made of Honor -- which way will this film go?

Made of Honor begins in 1998, where uptight Hannah (Michelle Monaghan) meets playboy Tom (Patrick Dempsey). Despite the awkward way in which they are introduced, they click. The story then leaps ahead ten years. Tom has made a fortune from inventing the "coffee collar" (that cardboard ring that they put around coffees at Starbucks) and he's with a new woman every night. Hannah works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art restoring paintings. While they still have different views of the world, Tom and Hannah are best friends. They go shopping together, share desserts, and eat together every Sunday. Tom's buddies don't understand why he doesn't take his relationship with Hannah to the next level, but he insists that they are just friends. When Hannah is sent an assignment in Scotland, Tom immediately misses her and begins to realize that he may indeed have romantic feelings towards her. Due to the time difference and her isolated locale, they aren't able to communicate while she's gone. When Hannah returns, he can't wait to see her. They feelings are immediately crushed when Hannah introduces Tom to Colin (Kevin McKidd), a man whom she met in Scotland who is now her fiancee. Tom is shocked by this news, and he tries to be happy for her. To add insult to injury, Hannah announces that the wedding will be very soon and she wants Tom to be her maid-of-honor. He's flummoxed by this idea, but his friends convince him that being close to her will be the perfect plan to steal her from Colin. So, Tom dives into wedding-planning head first in hopes of breaking up the nuptials.

Does all of this sound familiar? That's because you've seen it all before in other movies. And those other movies are all called My Best Friends Wedding. The plot of Made of Honor is very comparable to that 1997 Julia Roberts vehicle, down to the point that the films share some scenes which are quite similar. If nothing else, the main ideas are the same: You have a man and a woman who have been friends forever, and suddenly, when one of them is about to get married, the other realizes that they've been in love the whole time. The genders are reversed in Made of Honor and some specifics have been changed, but they are still close. Throw in the awkward bachelorette party scene from Bachelor Party and youíve got the makings of a movie which will feel very familiar.

And then you have our main characters, Tom and Hannah. The movie lets us know that Hannah is attracted to Tom before he realizes that he loves her. So, if she has feelings for him, then why would she tolerate his commitment-phobia, which borders on a misogynistic view of women. The movie tries to let Tom off the hook by showing that his father has been married six times, but that doesnít make him any less of a horn-dog. If Hannah has a decent bone in her body, then she should find his behavior reprehensible. Then, we she meets Colin, she falls head over heels, drastically changing from the woman which we saw in the beginning of the film. Is she pouring all of her pent-up romantic feelings into Colin? None of this is helped by the fact that there isnít a great deal of chemistry between Dempsey and Monaghan.

Despite these major problems, the film isnít a major disaster. There are some funny moments, most of which involve Hannahís other bridesmaids, the most vicious of which is played by Busy Phillips, an underrated actress who often stole the show on Dawsonís Creek. Tomís friends, which includes A Different World vet Kadeem Hardison, are serviceable, but none of them really qualify as the wacky sidekick which this film desperately needs. The late Sydney Pollack has some good moments as Tomís Dad. And while itís clearly a ploy to add to the romanticism of the movie, thereís no denying that the scenes shot in Scotland are impressive.

The degree to which one will enjoy Made of Honor will depend on how seriously one takes romantic-comedies. On the surface, this is a seemingly pleasant and adequately entertaining film. Just don't put any real thought into it and you'll be OK.

Made of Honor walks down the aisle on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The DVD contains both the widescreen and the full-frame versions of the film. For the purposes of this review, only the widescreen version was viewed. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image looks good, as the picture is quite sharp and clear. The image shows no grain and there are no defects from the source material. The colors look very good, especially reds and bright tones. The image is never overly dark or bright. However, there is some blurring when characters move suddenly and flesh tones are a bit waxy. The DVD offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track is quite rich sounding and offers notable stereo effects. During the reception following the first wedding, the music delivers solid bass and surround effects. We also get nice surround and stereo effects during street scenes.

The Made of Honor DVD contains only one extra feature, which is an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Paul Weiland. This is a pretty good commentary, as Weiland speaks at length throughout the film. He does a good jump of giving scene specific comments and he moves around between technical information, commenting on the story, and complimenting the actors. He adds a nice touch by pointing out how scenes shot in various locations, some half-way around the world, can be edited together as to appear seamless.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has also brought Made of Honor to Blu-ray Disc. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at 28 Mbps. Like some other Blu-rays, this one doesnít necessarily dazzle us with the transfer, but it provides a good, solid looking movie. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source material. The picture is crisp and highly detailed. The Scottish landscape shots show an impressive amount of depth. The colors are very good and quite natural. Again, not a demo disc, but certainly better looking than the DVD. The Disc offers a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.6 Mbps. The track offers clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a romantic-comedy, I wasnít expecting to be bowled-over here, but the track is somewhat weak. We get some nice stereo and surround effects at times, and the in-film music is nicely detailed. But, the track lacks any real power and doesnít add much to the movie.

As with the DVD, the Blu-ray Disc features the commentary by Weiland, plus some additional extras. "Save the Date: The Making of Made of Honor" (13 minutes) is a fairly straight-forward featurette which contains comments from the cast and filmmakers and behind-the-scenes footage. The piece looks at the cast, the sets, and the thrill of shooting in Scotland. Production designer Kalina Ivanov discusses the weddings which she had to stage for the film, including the costumes, the sets, and visual effects in "Three Weddings and a Skyline" (7 minutes). The Disc offers two DELETED SCENES, which run about 3 minutes. Both are simply longer versions of scenes which appear in the finished film and offer nothing new.

Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long