It’s become fashionable for critics of the films of writer-director-producer Judd Apatow to accuse those movies of misogyny, but one has to wonder if these champions of feminism see mainstream junk like “Made of Honor,” a film that portrays all women as either morons, harpies or (horrors!) overweight.
The one exception, of course, is Hannah (Michelle Monaghan), since she’s the one woman on Earth who can make man-whore Tom (Patrick Dempsey) want to settle down into happy monogamy. The two met a decade earlier as college students, and now they’re each other’s best pals. (The movie’s lazy shorthand for their friendship has to do almost entirely with eating habits and shopping for antiques.)
But it’s not until Hannah goes off to Scotland for a six-week work trip that womanizer Tom realizes how much he misses her. When they meet for dinner upon her return, he wants to ask her to move in, but is stunned to find her accompanied by a fiancé, Colin (Kevin MacKidd). The Scotsman is, of course, just perfect — rich, charming, handsome, etc. But since MacKidd’s name isn’t above the title, we’re supposed to root for the callow, obnoxious, irritating leading man to land the girl.
Hannah asks Tom to be her maid of honor; he balks at first, but his pal Felix (Kadeem Hardison, stuck with the thankless only-black-friend-of-the-hero role) tells him that the only way to steal back Hannah is to infiltrate the wedding and spend lots of time with her. After Tom’s bridal shower is sabotaged by a bridesmaid (Busy Phillips, whose caustic wit is ill-utilized here) he once rebuffed romantically, he redoubles his efforts to be a great “MOH” and show Hannah how he’s matured.
You can pretty much map out where this is going — off to Scotland, where Colin bests Tom in highland games; a semi-drunken kiss and confession of love; the big showdown at the church. While the plot owes an obvious debt to “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” that’s just one of the many movies you’ll find yourself wishing you were watching instead. “Four Weddings and a Funeral” comes to mind, as does the David Lean classic “I Know Where I’m Going!” (which also deals with Scottish nuptials gone awry) and the little-seen “Some Girls,” a much smarter and much funnier comedy starring Dempsey in the first phase of his fame.
Dempsey has rekindled his stardom with “Gray’s Anatomy,” but his small-screen appeal doesn’t translate. He bumbles about as though he were in a Woody Allen comedy, but that approach can’t save this static, unfunny, listless bid for laughs. Even his face has lost its former singular angularity; at times, I had to search him out within the frame. And after “The Heartbreak Kid” and “Made of Honor,” Michelle Monaghan really doesn’t need to play Miss Perfect Girl anymore. She’s far too interesting in films like “Gone Baby Gone” to waste her time with this sort of twaddle.
It remains a mystery why viewers — particularly female ones — continue to flock to wedding movies, particularly ones that paint all women as despicable, pathetic and/or man-hungry. If “Made of Honor” is any indication, perhaps it’s time to hide the rice and veils from Hollywood producers until they can come up with more creative vows.