Made of Honor

At this rate, it looks like the entire cast of “Grey’s Anatomy” will eventually have an awful wedding movie to call their very own. Coming right off the heels of Katherine Heigl’s unwatchable “27 Dresses” is Patrick Dempsey’s “Made of Honor,” and it’s as robotic and tedious as can be expected from fluffy summer-weekend counterprogramming.

A womanizer who lives by a series of strict rules of feminine engagement, Tom (Patrick Dempsey) can’t wait to spend quality time with his long-standing best friend, Hannah (Michelle Monaghan). When Hannah heads off to Scotland on an extended business trip, Tom comes to the realization he can’t live without her. When she returns, Tom is ready to admit his attraction, only to find Hannah has found a fiance (Kevin McKidd) and wants Tom to be her maid of honor. Accepting the responsibility only because it offers a shot to disrupt the engagement, Tom faces a huge speed bump in his plan when it’s revealed that Hannah’s new love is just about perfect in every way.

Actual human characters are in short supply in “Honor,” and heaven knows this material could use any speck of unpredictability it could locate. It’s a mechanical romantic comedy, meant to trigger wedding day goosebumps and leading man heart palpitations in the audience, but there’s no pizzazz to “Honor,” and it features a complete absence of inspiration. It’s a lazy picture, and, even worse, it’s difficult to sit through. A simple love story shouldn’t feel like a prison sentence.

Perhaps equating “Honor” to jail time is an inch too harsh, but watching the filmmakers lead the material through every possible cliche is discouraging. There are some jewels to be mined in the film, especially scenes with Tom’s gender-confused role as maid of honor. The concept swings open large comedy doors that should rightfully exploit the situation for every last bachelorette party faux pas, but “Honor” only wants to make sexual preference jokes and take hoary bridesmaidzilla jabs. Dempsey is breezy enough in the role and appears ready to jump off the page and liven up the proceedings, but he’s held down by director Paul Weiland, who has some strange ideas of what makes for a giggly, romantic night at the movies.

Let’s just say that glow-in-the-dark anal sex toy sight gags fail to conjure up a desired mood of friendly, good-natured fun.

Much like “27 Dresses,” the predictability of the material is exasperating. Weiland is terrified to challenge anything in the script, and he gives himself over to the most moronic ideas of conflict, chipping away at basic (and needed) relationship logic to make it all fit together. Traditionally, cliche can be subdued by some fragment of imagination, but once Tom finds himself off on a horse to stop a wedding in the finale, all hope is lost that anyone associated with the production was interested in elevating the material to either funnier or more emotional ends.

Again, Dempsey is good here, and shares pleasing chemistry with the adorable Monaghan, but it’s hard to isolate their obvious allure when “Made of Honor” remains such a blinding display of loathsome formula.

Rating: D
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