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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

MADE OF HONOUR (article first published : 2008-05-11)

Some lovely scenes of Scotland and Manhattan, two rather charming leads in Grey’s Anatomy hunk Patrick Dempsey and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang’s down-to-earth Michelle Monaghan, and a cotton-candy romantic plot which, as implausible as they come, almost meshes My Best Friend’s Wedding and Sweet Home Alabama, but never emerges as half good as either.

That’s what you’ll find at the squishy heart of Made of Honour, a rather drawn-out romantic comedy with thinly developed characters. Directed by Paul Weiland, it also loses points for unfolding predictably and ending exactly as one would expect.

There’s even a scene where strangers in a street stop, smile and, in unison, burst into applause for a lead character – a staple sequence for the most contrived and corny of rom-coms.

Made of Honour’s saving grace is Dempsey who, in spite of playing a decidedly obnoxious character and also being way too old for the part at 42, oozes enough charisma as a wealthy Manhattan playboy to have all the Grey’s Anatomy fans flocking and sighing. He is Tom, a love-’em-and-leave’-em sort who seems to have time for only one woman – an unlikely friend of 10 years, Hannah (Monaghan), director of acquisitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, whom he has known since college.

When it finally dawns on Tom that Hannah is, in fact, the love of his life, it’s too late – she has returned from six weeks work in Scotland with a burly, and very wealthy whisky company owner, Scotsman Colin (Kevin McKidd), as a fiancé.

Hannah asks Tom, as her best friend, to be the maid of honour at her Highland wedding and he agrees – if only to find time and ways to convince Hannah that she is actually in love with him.

Had Hannah been as intelligent as she is meant to be, she would surely have long booted Tom from her life – he is, after all, a guy who discards women at the drop of a hat and is stubbornly selfish. However, this is Hollywoodland, after all, and to try to make this jerk more appealing and worthy of happy-ever-aftering with Hannah, the film-makers instead turn poor Colin into a dullard, to win Tom some points.

Also featuring Kathleen Quinlan as Hannah’s mother; Sydney Pollack as Tom’s father (who is on to his sixth marriage); and Kadeem Hardison as one of Tom’s gym buddies; the film pads its flimsy plot with sidebar moments.

These include many scenes of Tom playing ball with pals (with the running gag of a nerd constantly trying to jostle in on the action) and a grandmother who wears glow-in-the-dark sex beads as a necklace. Rating 5/10 – Billy Suter




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