Few headlining actresses have as many turkeys on their resumes as Jennifer Lopez, though that doesn't stop people turning out for her movies in ever increasing numbers. The same applies to her latest vehicle which, despite being a laboured rehash of My Best Friend's Wedding, still topped the US box-office charts for two weeks in 2001.
If you can swallow pop's pushiest diva as a lovelorn singlette who spends her days making brides' dreams come true and her nights alone with a TV dinner, you'll probably enjoy this debut pic from choreographer-turned-director Adam Shankman. But the novelty of seeing J-Lo play a character so at odds with her public persona is not enough to excuse the crashing predictability of the script or the cloying sentimentality.
It starts promisingly enough, introducing Mary (Lopez) as a control freak who can tell how long a marriage will last by the selection of wedding song and colour of the bridesmaids' dresses - she'll even stop the padre taking a leak if it interferes with her carefully laid plans. But no sooner has Lopez been shoved out of the path of a runaway dumpster by Matthew McConaughey's handsome medic Steve than the story hits autopilot, with the stars' road to the altar blocked by a series of transparent obstacles they have little trouble negotiating.
These include Steve's fiancée Fran (Pete Sampras' wife Bridgette) and Mary's admirer Massimo, played by Justin Chambers with a ludicrously thick Italian accent. Along the way, Shankman throws in a sizzling tango to showcase Lopez's dancing prowess and Kevin Pollak has a fleeting cameo as McConaughey's golfing buddy. But even with these mild diversions, there's enough here for you to find just cause or impediment why this movie should never have started shuffling down the aisle in the first place.
There's nothing like a good romantic comedy - and Jennifer Lopez's latest vehicle is, indeed, nothing like one. It may have done big business in America, but this by-the-numbers chick flick never comes close to the classics it seeks to emulate.