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Movie Review

My Best Friend's Wedding

Reviewed by: Cheryl Sneeringer

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
15 to Adult
105 min.

Starring: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett / Director: P.J. Hogan / Released by: Tristar Pictures

Jules Potter (Julia Roberts) is a beautiful, independent, self-absorbed food critic who is chronically unwilling to commit to a man. She receives an urgent message from her former lover and best friend Michael (Dermot Mulroney), a man with whom she had sealed a pact long ago-that if neither of them were married by their 28th birthdays, they would marry each other. Since they are both turning 28, she assumes he is calling to cash in on their agreement, and her first inclination is to deflect his offer of marriage. But when he announces that he has found someone else and has called to invite her to his wedding, she becomes determined to have him. She flies off to Chicago intent on breaking up the happy couple and winning back the man who had once been hopelessly in love with her.

I found this movie to be delightful entertainment. I grinned, I laughed, and I was even tempted to sing along (always a bad idea). And yet, when you look at the elements of the movie, it is surprising that it worked so well. None of the romantic characters are sympathetic: Jules is scheming, manipulative, and destructive. Michael is wooden and unimaginative, and the depth of his relationship with Jules is appropriately measured in millimeters. Michael’s fiancé Kimmie (Cameron Diaz) is giddy and shallow—the personification of the blonde joke. If this sad triangle were all we had to consider, then I believe the movie would have fizzled.

But the movie has one character with wit, imagination, and at least a measure of integrity—Jules' editor and confidante George (Rupert Everett), the stereotypical sensitive British gay man. Everett steals the show. Whenever he’s onscreen, the movie sparkles. His attempt to pose as Jules' playboy fiancé is hilarious.

Although I enjoyed this movie as entertainment, the worldview it portrays is hedonistic, self-centered, and very much contrary to God’s standard of marriage and morality. Casual, uncommitted sex is a way of life for these swinging singles. Truth, integrity, fair play—these are not even under consideration. At one point, when one of Jules' deceptions is discovered, she whines, “Getting what you deserve isn’t fair!”

The movie contains three uses of bad language, and one brief scene of Julia Roberts in her underwear. More distressing than that, however, is the point when the bridegroom is musing that this is the last time he will be alone with Jules and she responds, “Except for twice a year when we’ll meet for an affair…” This is an example of the low view of marriage and commitment held by these characters. If you allow your teenagers to see this movie, seriously consider discussing with them the attitudes toward marriage portrayed in this film (and challenge them to point these attitudes out to their young friends, as well).

Year of Release—1997

Viewer Comments
I saw My Best Friend’s Wedding with my teenage daughters and left feeling dirty and saddened that I chose to let them watch this. From the reviews, it didn’t sound too bad but I was horrified at the “F___ me” that popped out of Julia Roberts' mouth when she and George were trying to convince her friend that they were engaged. Licking the ice sculpture of David was tasteless and George’s comment about Julia’s bottom being sore after her many encounters but having no problem with him because… well, enough said. Did no-one else catch these obscenereferences? Maybe it was because I was watching it with those I want to protect from this type of stuff but it makes me want to swear off of Hollywood for good.
—D. B.
I think it is an outrage that you all are so upset that this movie portrayed a homosexual as someone who can make a movie good. First of all, homosexuality is a sin, just like any other. And if we are without sin, then perhaps we can throw the first stone. Until then, homosexuals are sinners, just like us, but they are also people, worthy of God’s grace. People who have something to offer to the world, and not always all bad.
—JC, age 19
This movie is a waste of money. The few funny scenes are heavily outweighed by the picture of a successful modern couple who have no morals. This is a descriptive picture of the world in which we live as it continues to undermine the God ordained institution of marriage and the family. Go on a hike, read a classic, have a friend over for dinner and real conversation, but don’t waste your money on this one.
—Tim H, age 42
If the most serious complaint about this movie is that a homosexual actor portrayed a gay guy and stole the show with entertaining charisma, I seem to detect grudges building at best, covetousness at worst… “Best Friend” wasn’t at all obscene or profane and provides ample ops for intelligent, Spirit-led dialogue with one’s teens. Such as, should we must respect the homosexuals right to free speech and artistic expression that doesn’t offend in a pornographic way? Rate him with the same or different criteria used for straight actors? (Rom. 13:1-7; 2 Pet.2:13-17)
—Debra L. Lewis, age 40
I am really surprised that so many people liked this movie. The main characters were either so wimpy or so vicious that it was hard to identify with any of them. There were some funny moments, but as a whole the movie wasn’t satisfying at all.
—Eric, age 44
I get the feeling I may be in the minority here, but I really enjoyed the film! I loved George’s character, and I thought it was nice to see him protrayed in such a genial, intelligent manner. Julia Robert’s character was a bit annoying—I certainly wouldn’t have married her after she lied and tried to get me fired! I was also pleased that Kim decided to go back to school in the end—after all, education is not something we should just throw away. For Christians: if you simply cannot stand the protrayal of gay people as normal human beings, this is not the movie for you. Marriage is the goal here, and that should be ok. I’d recommend the movie, but don’t go into it expecting a Snow White type story. It certainly isn’t!
—Marit, age 22
If ever there was a movie which showcases the best reasons to reserve one’s heart for courtship and marriage, this is it. All three primary characters are hurt because of the past casual involvement and active emotional infidelity of Julianne and the groom-to-be. The Lord was not uplifted or extolled in any way during this film. I am saddened when we as Christians applaud this movie’s “relative goodness” in the light of other “more-offensive” films out there. Is our true plumb-line not the Word of God, instead? The bottom line here is that the main characters had already unwrapped God’s “gift” of sexual intimacy for them prior to marriage, received counsel from lost peers instead of godly mentors, and are guilty of emotional infidelity. What a departure from God’s best in our lives! I recommend an evening with Josh’s Harris' new book, I KISSED DATING GOODBYE, instead.
—Kay O'Hara, age 40
All in all, this was a cute movie, but I wish they would have left some scenes out—like the ice sculptor part. If I had been with a guy instead of my girls, I would have been totally uncomfortable. The situation contributed nothing to the movie except for a cheap laugh. But for the better part of the film, Hollywood held off on its perverted side, so I think virtually any normal person could see it without being seriously offended.
—Michelle, age 14
I liked this movie a great deal… Yes, Julianne displayed patently Unchristian behavior throughout the film, but in the end, the desired man marries the woman who was loving and honest with him—the deception didn’t pay off. The outbursts of bad language were few compared to most films. The underwear scene was not played lasciviously, and, shock of shocks, Julia Roberts even played it with some modesty, covering herself up even though she was trying to “steal” the man who walked in on her changing. Rupert Everett was funny and warm as her REAL best friend, giving sound advice. He is never shown in a romantic situation with another man, so if you TRULY only hate homosexual “acts” and not homosexual people, than this movie shouldn’t bother you.
—Lissie, age 28
This movie hit me like a hammer because I had a similar thing happen to me. I have a good friend who was in love with me but I played games. She’s married now and I missed my blessing because of my selfish and stupid games. I didn’t do what Jules did… and God wouldn’t let me stoop as low as she did anyway. I probably will not watch this movie again and I don’t recommend it to the saints.
—Chris Utley, age 24
I was asked by a friend to go to this movie which I hadn’t heard of. My friend (a Christian) walked out having enjoyed it very much. However, there were so many subtle things “slipped” in that I would have gotten up and left it I felt I wouldn’t have offended my friend. I kept thinking how Jesus would feel sitting there listening to the cussing, watching the near-nudity, and I haven’t seen anyone mention the ice sculpture scene! I was horribly offended by the way the homosexual was portrayed as the greatest guy, everyone in the theatre roared at his part! The movie is trash, and I am ashamed I stayed in the theatre to see it. It was more embarrasing to stay than it would have been to tell my friend I was leaving.
—Leif Holmes, age 26
I thought that My Best Friend’s Wedding was quite a let down after all of the hype. Not only was Jules selfish and shallow, but she smoked. George was the star of the show and he was also gay. This is Hollywood’s way of convincing America that homosexuality is okay. I think the movie would have been much better if he had not been gay, this would have left the viewer with some hope for Jules. The movie was also a bit draggy and the plot was rather dull. The movie had its bright spots, but not many. I don’t think there is any Christian influence in this movie at all.
—Melinda Stilson, age 20
Yes, it’s true that this movie’s characters have VERY few Christian traits. Jules doesn’t demonstrate love at all. (See 1 Corinthians 13) Nevertheless, because I’m a Julia Roberts fan, 28 years old and single I loved this movie! Julia Roberts was hillarious! As Christians today we need to be well trained in Scripture, the foundations of our faith and able to defend Christian doctrine (1 Peter 3:15). Once we understand our own worldview and the opposing secular worldview non-Christian movies can (occasionally) be extremely entertaining.
—Richard Fangrad, age 28
I kept waiting for some redeeming plot threads to counterpoint the sadistic theme, but none ever surfaced (until the last two minutes). Revenge, revenge, blind selfishness, revenge!!! When have enemies been as vile as “best friend” Julia? She makes Cirus “The Virus” (Con Air) look small time. I must agree with Cheryl that George’s was the only performance worth watching. So there you are, a gay character has the only redeeming part in a movie that leaves you feeling ill! Definitely not a four-star movie. More like one!
—Nathan Huddleston, age 26
I thought this movie was wonderful. I believe myself to be a strong christian and even went with some youth from church. This is a great movie about friendships, even though Juila’s character seemed greedy. She proved her love for her friend. The only thing bad about this movie is that there were no sex scenes and barely any perverse words (yes, cynical “christians” that was sarcasim). So, take your bestfriend, a box of kleenex and enjoy!!
—Sunnie, age 24