“We’ve known each other for what, 20 years? That’s a long time.” Yes, Julianne. It is.
Does a big anniversary of major pop culture moments in your life ever make you think about your own mortality? No? Just me? CAN YOU BELIEVE IT’S BEEN 20 YEARS SINCE ICONIC ROMANTIC COMEDY MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING WAS RELEASED? I totally can. Because I am young and youthful and have so much life to look forward to.
I was 11 when this movie came out. Fifth grade was coming to a close and I was about to move on up to middle school. Helping me through that process was Julia Roberts and the cast of My Best Friend’s Wedding. I remember seeing Julia, Dermot Mulroney, Rupert Everett and Cameron Diaz on Rosie’s My Best Friend’s Wedding Day-themed show (as you’ll recall, Molly & I were both big Rosie nerds), and thought that they all looked like they were genuinely friends and there was singing in it, so obviously I would love it. I eventually watched it and fell in love. By the time I got the VHS tape, I played it on repeat. So much so that I’m surprised it still works. Yes, I still have a VHS player. Yes, it ate the tape when I tried to put it in. Yes, I spent 15 minutes trying to fix a VHS player in 2017.
This was just the beginning of my Julia Roberts phase. Next year we can talk about Notting Hill. Anyways, I loved this movie so much, but TBH it’s been years since I’ve seen the film in its entirety. Would it hold up watching as an adult? Would I find it as endearing? Would some jokes finally make sense to me? I got down to the bottom of all my questions and finally got my VHS player to work. Here’s what I learned about My Best Friend’s Wedding, two decades later.
Honestly never realized that this opening sequence is basically what it looks like inside Jules’ brain. I guess I just thought it was a fun wedding-themed song???
You won’t get him Thinkin’ and a-prayin’ Wishin’ and hopin’…
Plannin’ and dreamin’ his kiss is the start
That won’t get you into his heart
So if you’re thinkin’ how great true love is All you gotta do is
Hold him and kiss him and squeeze him and love him
Yeah, just do it and after you do, you will be his
Marriage Goals Were Different in the ’90s
Julianne (Julia) is 28 (turning 28 in three weeks when the movie starts), which means she and Michael made the pact to marry each other if they’re still single when they’re 22. I don’t know about you, but when I was feeling 22, I wasn’t making any wedding pacts, and at 28, I sure as hell wasn’t wishin’ & hopin’ that I was engaged and heading down the aisle. But hey, that’s just me.
“Angelique broke her pelvis line dancing in Abeline during spring break.” Kimmy, who is still going on spring break.
Speaking of which, Kimmy (Cameron Diaz) is 20. She’s a junior at the University of Chicago. She orders an Amstel Light at the karaoke bar but isn’t even old enough to drink. She seemed so old and put together when I watched this as a burgeoning 6th grader. At 20, I was galavanting around Europe looking for the best place in Amsterdam to have weed. Get weed? Smoke weed. Actually, eat weed.
Gypsy Traded in Cars For Dresses
The movie came out a few years before Gilmore Girls even started, so it never occurred to me that Rose Abdoo was even in this movie! But now, it’s obvious that it’s her – could it be the similar accent? Possibly. Also, Mara Casey, Gilmore Girls casting director and sometimes actress, is also in the movie as “Karaoke Girl”!
Even More Before-They-Were Stars Cameos!
Paul Giamatti pre-Sideways plays Richard the Bellman at the hotel Julianne is staying at, and he provides some comfort to her as she thinks about what she’s done to hurt Michael. He does some excellent smoking work in this scene. Also, there are before-they-were-stars cameos from Rachel Griffiths and True Blood’s Carrie Preston, who played the gossipy and
slutty cousins of Kimmy, Private Practice & Scandal star Paul Adelstein as an (uncredited) family member – sitting at the head of the table during the Say a Little Prayer scene, and Grimm’s Bree Turner was one of the gals in the opening title sequence of the “Wishing and Hoping” trio!
But Michael’s Like, Leading Her On
“You look really good. Without your clothes on.” Michael walks into Julianne’s dressing room while she’s half naked, and that’s what he says before he gives her a long once-over then moseyed out the door. And don’t even get me started on the romantic dance/serenade on a boat ride down the river. “You’ve sort of been the woman in my life.” “And you’ve been the man in mine.”
*Or maybe this is just his way of finally letting go of Jules? Let’s go with that. Why? Because…
But Also Like, Juliette is a Bitch
“It’s amazing the clarity that comes with psychotic jealousy.”
You know, because it’s Julia Roberts, and the movie is written in a way that we’re supposed to view the situation through her lens, and I never really stepped back from the whole picture and acknowledged that Julianne is being a bitch. I know, I know.
She sets up Kimmy at the karaoke bar, then practically shoves her in the cab to go home just so she and Michael can have some alone time. During that time, Jules casually asks if he’s marrying her just to get a high-power job at the conglomerate/White Sox organization Kimmy’s dad owns, and Michael was adamant that he isn’t. Cut to: Jules convincing Kimmy that Michael hates his traveling sports reporter job and wants a job with her dad. Conniving plan begins.
What a crazy move to involve your best friend, his fiancee, his fiancee’s dad, and his boss in a giant ruse just to make him love you back. It’s cuckoo bananapants and I still can’t believe Michael forgave her so quickly.
Julianne ‘I’m completely out of sneaky ideas’ Potter successfully reunites Michael with Kimmy and they agree to get married after a 5-hour breakup, Jules thinks it’s the right time to tell her BFF that she loves him, and kisses him as Kimmy looks on. The music swells in a way that leads us to believe this is the couple we should be rooting for. Instead, this is exactly what we should not be.
“I’m the bad guy.” Yes, Jules. You are. I can’t believe I’ve been blind to that for 20 years. Yes I can. I was 11 when I watched this. Julia Roberts could do no wrong. Her playing a villain was never a possibility. But actresses are dynamic, Trace. As a 31 year old, I definitely believe it now.
Just How Good Rupert Everett Is
From the moment he arrives in Chicago and pretends to be Jules’ fiance, Rupert steals the show. The scene in cab where he’s all over Jules, in the church where he charms the family members, then of course, the whole I Say a Little Prayer scene and him meeting Jules in a mental insitution while he was visiting “Dionne Warwick”. I feel like he should’ve been given more credit for this role!
***Apparently he was nominated for a lot of things playing George, including a Golden Globe, BAFTA, and an MTV Movie Award nomination, so I guess that’s better than nothing.
HER E-MAILS THOUGH
LOL at the entire scene where Jules is compiling an email using Kimmy’s dad’s laptop. It’s so archaic-looking, but I guess it was 1997. I didn’t even get AOL until a few years later. It makes sense that only this successful businessman only has easy access to email.
And why is she typing in their whole names and occupations in the To: field? Why would she save a draft for “Michael to see later”?? It’s a v risky plan. And why would Walter be sending Michael’s current boss an email basically telling him to fire him so he can work for his own company? V unprofesh. And how is it that Walter doesn’t find out?
Brunch Before The Wedding
I’ve never been married, but I have been to a number of them, and I know full well that a wedding is an all-day thing. The ladies have to get up at the ass-crack of dawn to start getting ready. And even if Michael and Kimmy are set for to tie the knot at 6pm, that does NOT mean they should hold an elaborate brunch the morning of the wedding. They went all out as if it was a mini-wedding before the wedding. The egregious amount of balloons! What even is that! And also, Michael and Kimmy are attempting to not see each other on their wedding day, but still planned this brunch for their families? No.
The Ice Sculpture of David
Never really got *why* this was so funny. Now I do.
Julia Roberts Wears a Wig
Imagine a world where this wasn’t the final scene of the movie. Because that could bet he AU we’d be living in. In the first pass, the last shot featured Jules met a new guy to potentially find love with – John Corbett of Sex and the City fame. But after producers screened it for the first time, viewers “hated” Jules by the end because they “couldn’t understand her motives”, according to director P.J. Hogan. So the writer and director went back to the drawing board and expanded George’s role as her Gay Best Friend to play more of her conscience throughout the movie.
As part of that expanded role, Rupert and Julia did reshoots eight months after they wrapped, including the final scene (in which Julia is wearing a wig because she has a pixie cut IRL) where George surprises her at the reception. It’s heartwarming, lovely, and makes you root for Jules again, knowing she’ll be ok with the other love of her life – George.
“Maybe there won’t be marriage. Maybe there won’t be sex. But my god, there will be dancing.”
Real Talk: Kimmy and Michael are divorced now, right?