My Best Friend's Wedding Is The Most Twisted, Screwed Up Rom-Com Ever Made
If you've ever found yourself staring into the night sky in the dead of winter asking "Is My Best Friend's Wedding a good movie?", chances are the cosmos shouted back "Seriously? Do you need an itemized list of why My Best Friend's Wedding sucks or what?" Even if you disagree with the judgment of eternity, you have to admit there are some weird things that happen in My Best Friend's Wedding. In the world of really weird romantic comedies, My Best Friend’s Wedding may take the cake for the weirdest of all. This is a film about a woman trying to break up her best friend’s wedding. And you're supposed to be rooting for her.
It’s odd to root for a protagonist to be a home wrecker, but when that protagonist is played by Julia Roberts, you'll pretty much root for her to do anything. Roberts is so charming she made being a prostitute seem like fun in Pretty Woman. You even rooted for her to steal her sister's boyfriend in America's Sweethearts. Julia Roberts can do whatever she damn pleases and the world will take a ride with her. Cameron Diaz, Roberts's co-star, is a fantastic comedian who excels at playing sweet-but-hysterial, the perfect counterpoint to Roberts.
My Best Friend's Wedding is not alone in being a seemingly saccharine entertainment that's seriously messed up if you think about it. Many beloved movies have seriously twisted plots. In Back to the Future, Marty McFly makes out with his mom. Mrs. Doubtfire is about a deranged psychopath who dresses as an old woman to stalk his children. With that in mind, it's time to look at My Best Friend’s Wedding for what it really is: a demented romp filled with garbage people and one saint.
Julianne’s Narcissism Is Terrifying
Julianne Potter is a narcissistic lunatic.
When you meet Julianne, her narcissism isn’t obvious; she comes off as a confident food critic. But her narcissism grows with each beat of the film, as she rationalizes breaking up a marriage. She’s allowed to do these horrible things, you see, because Michael has always been in love with her.
Julianne is the kind of narcissist who could rationalize murder if it suited her needs. She's deeply twisted. Of course, in the hands of Julia Roberts, Julianne comes off as a charming go-getter and maybe even a romantic.
The truth is, My Best Friend’s Wedding is about someone living in the past, someone so obsessed with herself she believes she’s right in breaking up a marriage. Julia Roberts may look like a dream in that lilac dress, but the woman she's playing is a nightmare.
The Bachelor-Esque Premise Turns Love Into A Hunger Games In Which Women Are The Dispossessed
The demented premise of My Best Friend's Wedding reveals what garbage people the protagonists are.
Upon finding out Michael is engaged, Julianne regrets putting him in the friend zone for years and attempts to stop his wedding. That's pretty extreme. And sad. Because the film seems to be saying men and women cannot be pure friends; there must be sexual tension in the relationship. Julianne and Michael are best friends. But Julianne decides she needs to marry him. Meanwhile, Julianne is also friends with George, but he's gay. If sex is on the table, pure friendship is impossible.
That Julianne's plan set her against another woman is a backwards-ass plot device and shows how little solidarity Julianne has. It's not just that Julianne and Kimberly both want Michael’s affection; Julianne actively tries to destroy Kimberly to get it. The plot is like something out of The Bachelor, with a ring being at the finish line. And Michael is an arrogant jackass who sits back and lets women fawn over him because he's a white American man, and totally dgaf about anything other than his own wants.
Wait, Julianne Still Goes to the Wedding?
After Julianne is exposed for manipulating and scheming, she goes to the wedding. Guys, she GOES TO THE WEDDING.
In a romantic comedy centered on a wedding, it would be weird not to include a wedding scene, but how does Julianne still go to this wedding? Michael and Kimberly are both totally cool with this backstabbing manipulator being there. Being there and being the Maid of Honor. Is your head exploding? This is the most dysfunctional wedding of all time.
To top it off, Julianne admits she doesn't have a gift, likely because she was too busy trying to stop the wedding to have time to go to Williams Sonoma. Julianne Potter, ladies and gentlemen, the worst Maid of Honor of all time.
This is probably also a good place to point out that Kimberly is kind of like a hopelessly naive WASP Jesus. It's almost impossible to piss her off, and once you do, she forgives you immediately and loves you forever thereafter. Light practically radiates from this woman. BUT SHE IS THE OTHER WOMAN.
Michael Sucks Kimberly's Wedding Ring Off Julianne's Finger
The moment when Julianne gets Kimberly's wedding ring stuck on her finger is all kinds of twisted. Julianne is the keeper of the ring, because Michael doesn't trust his little brother with it, even though he's the best man. By the way, does anyone else feel really bad for the little brother? And is Michael kind of a garbage person for not trusting him?
Julianne does something a sane person would probably not do: she tries on the ring. Well, it’s more like she forces the ring on her finger, and it gets stuck. When Julianne shows Michael the ring is stuck on her finger, he gets it (and maybe himself and Julianne) off in the most sexual way anyone has ever gotten a ring off: puts her finger in his mouth and sucks it off. He basically blows her finger.
This is not how any engaged man gets his fiancée’s wedding ring off another woman’s finger. Unless they're swingers.
Julianne’s Weird Relationship With Papa Joe, And That Scene Where She Kisses His Lips And Gets Sex With Michael's Teenage Brother
Papa Joe (M. Emmet Walsh), Michael’s father, has a very special relationship with Julianne. Some would say a little too special. Papa Joe even says he tried to convince Michael to ask Julianne to be best man, instead of Michael’s little brother. That’s messed up. What gives, Papa Joe? You hate your own son?
This conversation happens at a baseball game, during which Julianne is basically being every man’s fantasy. She carries about 30 beers and wears a midriff-bearing top. She tells Michael she’s got “moves he’s never seen” while doing a sexy hip shimmy. All in front of geriatric horn dog Papa Joe. And this is after she's sat on Joe's lap and kissed his lips. In the same scene, she makes inappropriate sexual advances, supposedly done in jest, on Michael's teenage brother. It's basically a how-to for women having a psychosexual meltdown at a family gathering.
Most people don’t sex it up in front of their friend’s parents, but Julianne and Papa Joe were so close. If she can't have the son, she might as well have the father (and maybe the holy ghost).
Michael Dances With His New Bride To His Special Song With Another Woman
To make up for not bringing a gift to the wedding she tried to ruin, Julianne tells Michael and Kimberly that, since they don't have a song, she'll lend them her special song with Michael. This would feel like a friendly moment, if Julianne hadn’t just confessed her love to Michael not even 24-hours prior. Instead of being friendly, it feels like Julianne is, yet again, trying to remind Michael of their special connection, thus belittling his connection to Kimberly.
For whatever reason, Kimberly is totally cool with dancing with Michael to the song, even though he's probably thinking about sucking rings off Julianne's finger. Yes, Kimberly dances with Michael to a song that's his and Julianne's special song. There's so much wrong here, but it mostly comes down to the fact that Julianne should not be at this wedding.