Although I will admit that the film has some minor faults, this 1997 feature came through like a breath of fresh air that, for a moment, refreshed the romantic comedy genre. Julia Roberts, in one of her few roles that doesn't have her being a 100% version of "America's Sweetheart", plays Julianne Potter, neurotic New York food critic. In the film's opening scene, she's found out that her old pal Michael O'Neal (Dermot Mulroney) wants to get back in touch. When she actually gives him a call back, he tells her that he's about to get married and he needs his best friend to hold his hand through the proceedings.
Julianne finds out the bride-to-be is the picture of perfection, Kimmy Wallace (Cameron Diaz). Julianne vows to break up the wedding and is only fueled by her competition. The question remains though, whether Julianne is actually in love or just wants to win the fight. Julianne attempts everything she can think of to break up the two - even, in one of the movie's classic scenes - making Kimmy sing Karaoke when she knows that the young lady couldn't sing if she tried. Nothing works though, and many of the scenes end with Julianne looking both defeated and amazed that her plans have been foiled.
When none of this works, Julianne brings in her gay editor from New York, played to perfection by Rupert Everett, to play her fiancee to make Michael jealous. George (Everett) is a perfect counterpart for Roberts' character, at first embarassed to be dragged into her plans, but eventually seeing ways that he can get her back without ruining her scheme. In the end though, he's her voice of reason when she finds herself having to accept that Michael may never be hers again.
Everett's performance should have gained awards notice. His joy in humiliating Roberts's character is priceless, especially after she tells him to "underplay" and he does exactly the opposite. Roberts and Diaz are also wonderful, with Diaz especially strong playing a kind-hearted girl who is more than she lets on. In fact, the only element that's unsuccessful is Mulroney's character. He's such a one-dimensional character that he becomes the least interesting part of the movie - he doesn't handle the comedy particularly well and looks lost.
All of this is helped immensely by a sharp, clever and intelligent screenplay from Ron Bass and superb direction by PJ Hogan. Actors with a fine understanding of comedic timing, the lines come quickly and with snap and energy. It's not a perfect picture, but it's edgy, funny and entertaining, with great performances.
VIDEO: "My Best Friend's Wedding" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The waste of space that was the pan & scan transfer included on the original edition has thankfully been dropped. I've had the displeasure to watch many films in the pan and scan format while browsing through the cable movie channels, but there have been thousands of films which were horrendously cropped and panned for pan & scan - "My Best Friend's Wedding" is definitely one of them. The gorgeously composed widescreen images by famous cinematographer László Kovács were cropped and unnatural pans weakly attempted to fit all the information in - it was simply unwatchable. This 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation will not go down as one of the best quality-wise that the studio has ever produced, but it's a pleasure simply to be able to take in the entire images as intended by the cinematographer and director. Although that was a long rant, the importance of watching the film in the original aspect ratio rather than a nauseating pan & scan edition is definitely something that needs to be discussed.
Anyways, I was talking about the quality previously. Tristar has included the same 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen edition that was previously included in the original edition. Sharpness and detail are generally quite solid, with only a few scenes here and there that are intentionally filmed with a rather soft feel. A couple of minor instances of edge enhancement are visible, but don't really take away from the viewing experience. I didn't see any pixelation and print flaws are kept to only a few minor speckles.
Colors are superbly presented, looking rich, lush, well-saturated and clean, with no instances of smearing or any other problems. Flesh tones are also accurate and natural, as well. Not perfect, but a very good presentation more often than not. Subtitles are offered in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai.
SOUND: "My Best Friend's Wedding" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, but there's only a couple of trace instances of surround use. Surrounds pop in occasionally with the music, but other than that, they can only really be heard momentarily with some ambient sounds, the crowds at the Karaoke bar, the baseball game, or early on, when Kimmy is speeding around the city in her car. Audio quality is pleasant, especially for the lovely James Newton Howard Score. Dialogue sounds a bit unnatural at times, but still comes through clearly and is easily understood. Nice, but, as expected, pretty basic.
MENUS:: A newly done animated main menu is provided, presented like a photo album. There's also animated transitions between menus. The only problem that I found was the type used in the trailer menu, which has the titles in pink outline - it's just slightly hard to read.
EXTRAS:: Originally announced was a writer/director commentary, but a short time before the release, that commentary was, for whatever reason, taken off the list of features and has not ended up on the final product. The features that did are listed below.
Unveiled: Making Of MBFW: This is a 15 minute "making of" documentary that slips back-and-forth between promotional and informative. The informative pieces are quite entertaining, as we find out more about what went on during filming as well as the concerns about putting some of the singing that goes on during the movie and how the film originally ended versus the actual ending. There's even a slight clip of what one of the potential endings was going to be. Overall, this is a very nicely done, if basic, looking at the making of the picture.
Wedding Do's and Don'ts: A rather goofy addition, this is a 4 1/2 minute featurette made up of old black and white footage combined with narration about how to and how not to go about preparing for a wedding.
On The Set: This is a more traditional 19 minute "Making Of", which was likely originally an HBO "First Look" special. It's mainly made up of interviews discussing the characters and story, but with some very nice behind-the-scenes footage occasionally put in. Probably will be interesting for one go around, but not something I think people will watch more than once. Every so often during the nearly 20 minute documentary, there's a funny on-set moment, such as about 8 moments in when Roberts takes a mis-step.
My Best Friend's Wedding Album: Although some may think that, at first glance, this is a photo gallery, it's actually a 7 1/2 minute featurette. Following the production to several different locations, a little bit of text on a green background tells us more about the location and what's going on. Nicely done - and I would have liked more.
Also: Trailers for "My Best Friend's Wedding", "It Could Happen To You" and "About Last Night"; filmographies; "Say A Little Prayer" karaoke sing-along; production notes and DVD-Rom features, "Who's The One For Me?" quiz and slideshow.
Final Thoughts: "My Best Friend's Wedding" is not one of the better special edition re-releases from the studio in terms of supplements and it's unfortunate that the commentary that was to be included didn't happen. Still, the movie is a stellar romantic comedy that both males and females should find equally entertaining and is definitely worth picking up if you haven't already gotten the original DVD edition.