The Wedding Planner (2001)

Directed by Adam Shankman (1)

Cast: Jennifer Lopez (2), Matthew McConaughey (3), Judy Greer (4), Alex Rocco (5), Justin Chambers (6), Bridgette Wilson (7), and Kathy Najimy (8)


(Watch the trailer)


My favourite quotes – “You need to learn the patience. I mean love can’t always be perfect. Love is just love.” &
Love isn’t like some enchanted evening. It isn’t a fairy tale. Or even love at first sight. That isn’t real life.”

My favourite dialogue – 

Mary: Dad, you cannot push some guy at me. That’s not how it works. You know that. You had Ma.
Salvatore: Yes! And I didn’t meet her until the day of our wedding. 

Mary: What are you talking about?
Salvatore: Your mother and I had an arranged marriage. 
Mary: An arranged marriage?
Salvatore: We met on the day of our wedding. We couldn’t even look at each other. I was in love with another girl and your mother wanted nothing to do with me. She said I had big eyebrows and a low IQ. Anyway, one day I got very sick with scarlet fever, and er, she stayed by my side. She took good care of me. For the first time, I appreciated her. Then the appreciation grew to respect. Respect grew to like. Then like grew to love. A deeper love than I could ever hope for. So give Massimo a chance. Maybe you don’t like him now. But maybe you might love him later. I should have told you about your mother and I a long time ago. Maybe then you’d feel differently about love. 
Mary: I don’t feel anything about love.


Edward: You know what I used to love when I was a kid Phil?
Philip: What?

Edward: Building blocks. Erector sets.
Philip: So…? I liked Monopoly. Boardwalk, Park Place. What’s the point?
Edward: We don’t build anything Phil. We don’t make anything.
Philip: We make money Edward. We worked for a year on this deal. It’s what you said you wanted. I’m handing it to you.


Dialogue from the film Pretty Woman 


What we loved to play as a child might be pretty telling of how we turn out to be it seems. What was your favourite toy as a child? Believe it or not, I played with Barbie Dolls. I loved their pretty dresses. Hmm… but I didn’t end up becoming a fashion designer. So I guess that theory is out the window. I love everything about The Wedding Planner. It’s one of those films that took me by surprise. It was possibly because I saw Jennifer Lopez more as a singer rather than an actress. Then after watching the film I remember, she did an awesome job in the film Selena even before I noticed her in The Wedding Planner. Or it could be because the subject matter is very close to my heart – Love, Weddings, and Marriage. 


I have never been married. And only 2 of my very good girlfriends have gotten married so far. Both of them didn’t have any wedding jitters. But that’s how we first meet Jennifer Lopez’s Mary Fiore. Nope. She’s not the one having the jitters. She’s the wedding planner who’s putting the bride at ease. Immediately we get a good sense of her personality. And the minute we see we her home life, we realise that she’s not one of those airy fairy types w
ith romantic notions about love or marriage. She doesn’t have her head in the clouds.


“Love isn’t like some enchanted evening. It isn’t a fairy tale. Or even love at first sight. That isn’t real life. Massimo’s a good man. Don’t worry Papa. I know what I’m doing. I’m just all grown up now.” 

– Mary Fiore

Romance novels, romantic comedies and romantic dramas, Disney fairytale happy endings. I think all these contribute to the idealistic notions that some women have about love, weddings, and marriage. Most women hope for their Prince Charming to sweep them off their feet. And most women aren’t practical about what they expect of their partner. Sure, Prince Charming possibly exists. But they are few and far between. So not everyone is going to get their fairytale ending. And some people don’t expect a fairytale ending. It really depends on how practical you are. 

I think I am both practical and idealistic. Can that be possible? I think so. I want the whole nine yards. That’s the idealistic me talking. But at the same time, I recognise that I have to be realistic in my “demands” with regards to a life partner. So while I yearn for Prince Charming, I realise that I need to remember that Prince Charming need not be perfect. 


Truth be told, in some ways, I think I’m quite like Mary Fiore. She’s constantly needs to be in control, she tells herself that she’s happy and doesn’t make time to date or get to know new people. The main difference between Mary and I is the fact that I don’t have some unresolved issues with an ex boyfriend and I’ve never had a fiancé. I want someone special to come home to, but at the same time I love myself enough to know that I should not settle for less than what I truly want in a life partner.


Steve: Do you ever think about that night at the park?
Mary: What?

Steve: I barely know you. I don’t know your dad’s first name, I don’t know if you ever wore braces, or contacts, or glasses and I have no idea how you came to be a wedding planner, Mary. But I do know the curves of your face. And I know every fleck of gold in your eyes. I know that the night at the park was the best time I’ve ever had. Please say something.

Mary: I’m a magnet for unavailable men, and I’m sick of it. It’s simple. I know Fran, I respect her, and she loves you. So besides your tux measurements, that’s all I need to know. Please go away.


I’ve had my fair share of failed relationships. 9 of them to be exact. And while I sometimes do get disillusioned about ever finding ‘the elusive one’, I’m not bitter. But of course, I never caught my fiancé cheating on me in my car like Mary Fiore did. 

Mary: He said they were just friends, but deep down I knew better. I was just a stand-in. A poor man’s Wendy… Jerk. It’s a good thing I didn’t marry him. But most of the time I just think… I just wasn’t enough.
Steve: No, no, no, you’re wrong. And another thing. This Wendy, she’s nothing but a poor man’s Mary.

In almost all my relationships, I always thought they would end in marriage. But they never do. There was one particular guy, let’s call him Mr 5, who I would probably have married and have kids with today if our timing wasn’t off. We were young. Too young to get married. And understandably, Mr 5 wasn’t ready to settle down. So I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. 

Then again. If I think with a clear head, I have friends who started dating in Junior College like Mr 5 and I did, and now they’re happily married with a baby boy. They managed to withstand the test of time, why couldn’t we? So maybe it’s just me. Maybe I just wasn’t enough.


Everything happens for a reason. And it’s a good thing I didn’t marry him. Because if we stayed together, I would have never met Mr 7, which wouldn’t result in me running away to Australia to study, which in turn helped shaped me to become who I am today. And more and more, I’m beginning to “like myself the way”. (See the post on the film Penelope) So personally I think all these failed relationships ain’t such a bad thing. At least I’ve learned a lot in the process.

Anyway, I wouldn’t want to marry the wrong man! Then have my marriage end in divorce.

Mary: There’s nothing to tell. I thought I could control everything and I can’t. I met someone who I thought was… well he’s not. Did you ever like someone, but the timing was off? Way off? You feel things you should not be feeling? I’m not making any sense.
Massimo: You make much sense. You long for him the way I long for you.
Mary: Massimo, I don’t want you to think…
Massimo: No, no. I want to tell you something. You need to learn the patience. I mean love can’t always be perfect. Love is just love.
Mary: My mum used to say that. 
Massimo: You see your mother was a very smart woman.

My favourite quote of The Wedding Planner is said by Massimo Lenzetti, played by the very talented Justin Chambers. I actually only just realised it was him after re-watching the film for this review. He says in the film that “love can’t always be perfect. Love is just love.” And I agree with him wholeheartedly. It takes more than love to keep a marriage going. Love is just love. It’s just an emotion. And after that huge, fanciful, and expensive wedding you have comes the real work. 

Marriage takes a lot of work. Some say that if you’re with the right person marriage should be easy. I think that if you marry the right person, the marriage will be a little easier. But still, marriage ain’t easy buddy. Get your head out of the clouds. Love only gives you the courage and the patience to work harder at the marriage, come what may. Marriage is a choice, a choice to be committed to one person till death do you part. Love helps you keep that promise. Love reminds you that you made that promise. It reminds you to be forgiving, to be kind, to be respectful, and to endure through the tough times. 


But still, you must first love the person. If there’s no love to begin with what then do you have? Which brings me to the other topic in this film. Arranged marriages. Can a person grow to love a spouse? In the past, I think they had to. They learned to appreciate the good qualities of the other person. I mean if I had to live with someone for the rest of my life, wouldn’t it make life a whole lot easier if I at least liked the person even just a little bit?


Mary: Dad, you cannot push some guy at me. That’s not how it works. You know that. You had Ma.

Salvatore: Yes! And I didn’t meet her until the day of our wedding. 
Mary: What are you talking about?
Salvatore: Your mother and I had an arranged marriage. 
Mary: An arranged marriage?
Salvatore: We met on the day of our wedding. We couldn’t even look at each other. I was in love with another girl and your mother wanted nothing to do with me. She said I had big eyebrows and a low IQ. Anyway, one day I got very sick with scarlet fever, and er, she stayed by my side. She took good care of me. For the first time, I appreciated her. Then the appreciation grew to respect. Respect grew to like. Then like grew to love. A deeper love than I could ever hope for. So give Massimo a chance. Maybe you don’t like him now. But maybe you might love him later. I should have told you about your mother and I a long time ago. Maybe then you’d feel differently about love. 
Mary: I don’t feel anything about love.

What is your take on arranged marriages? Although I wouldn’t want to have an arranged marriage, I do think that there is something we can learn from arranged marriages. Because like I’ve been saying, marriage is more than just love. It takes respect, good two-way communication, understanding, and compromise. That being said, I’m still glad that I’m not born in a time when arranged marriages was the only way to go. (Hmm, since we’re on the top of arranged marriages, I suddenly have the urge to re-watch Bend It Like Beckham

Anyway, I’m glad that my parents aren’t pushing me to get married or setting me up on blind dates etc. I think making a hasty decision only brings you nothing but trouble. After all, I feel that I am a person who cannot be with someone who loves me more than I love him. It must be equal or I must love him more. If not I’d feel guilty for loving him less. 


Mary, I know I never done the right thing, say the right thing. I know I act like a fool. I know I say we’d be buddy-buddy friends, but that would not be true to my heart. So I’ll ask this one question, and if you answer “no”, I’ll leave you alone once and for all. Be my wife, Mary Fiore. If you answer “yes”, I’ll take care of you, be true to you, and like this house I built for your dolls, I’ll make sure you have a strong roof over your head. If you answer “yes”, then no one will love you as much as I love you. If you answer “yes”, then you will make me the happiest man on earth.”


– Massimo Lenzetti

It hasn’t happen to any of my friends, and I hope it won’t ever happen to them. But I’ve heard of couples who have been together for very long, plan the wedding, only to call it quits just months or even weeks and days before the wedding. For Matthew McConaughey’s Steve Edison and Bridgette Wilson’s Francine Donolly in The Wedding Planner, they realised they’ve become different people on the actual day of the wedding! Planning a wedding, I’ve heard, can be very stressful. 

My colleague has been preparing for her June wedding since last year. And it seems she has a ton of things to do. But truth be told, I think a wedding can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. It’s your choice. There is no right or wrong here. Just a matter of what kind of wedding you want. 


When it’s my turn, I might want a big wedding, or I might want a simple wedding. Who knows. People change over time. Maybe by the time I do get married, IF I actually get married, what I want might be different what I think I want now. But right now, I’m torn between a simple casual wedding, and going all out with the white dress (a chiffon flowy gown in a Grecian cut – if I ever slim down enough to carry it off) and many bridesmaids and a grand themed wedding. 


Y’know, “those who can’t do, teach”? Well those who can’t wed, plan.”


– Mary Fiore

But whatever type of wedding I want, I hope I’m not a bridezilla. Another colleague of mine has always dreamed of being a wedding planner. Even I have contemplated being a wedding planner. But, I have a fear of bridezillas. So that career path is out of the question for me. 

So, as you can tell, I have a big thing for the subject of love, marriage, and weddings. So maybe I’m biased towards the film. But still, you can’t deny that The Wedding Planner has wonderful actors who all did a good job in their roles. And while most critics hate this film, I love it. And I’m not afraid to say it. I think the film had many funny laugh out loud moments, and moments that make you reflect about what the film is trying to say. I’ve watched The Wedding Planner so many times, they must have done something right. 



(1) Adam Shankman has directed films like A Walk To Remember (2002), Bringing Down The House (2003), The Pacifier (2005), Cheaper By The Dozen 2 (2005), Hairspray (2007), Bedtime Stories (2008), The 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2010), and Rock Of Ages (2012). He also directed episodes of television series like Glee and Modern Family. He was also the choreographer for films like Addams Family Values (1993), The Flintstones (1994), Casper (1995), George Of The Jungle (1997), A Life Less Ordinary (1997), She’s All That (1999), Blast From The Past (1999), Forces Of Nature (1999), Inspector Gadget (1999), Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999), Catch Me If You Can (2002), Stuck On You (2003), Step Up (2006), and Step Up 2: The Streets (2008).

(2) Jennifer Lopez is a singer but also acted in films like Selena (1997), Anaconda (1997), Out Of Sight (1998), The Cell (2000), Maid In Manhattan (2002), Jersey Girl (2004), Shall We Dance? (2004), Monster-In-Law (2005), The Back-Up Plan (2010), What To Expect When You’re Expecting (2012), and Parker (2013). She also guest starred in television series like Will & Grace and How I Met Your Mother.

(3) Matthew McConaughey has acted in films like A Time To Kill (1996), Contact (1997), How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (2003), Sahara (2005), Failure To Launch (2006), Fool’s Gold (2008), Tropic Thunder (2008), Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past (2009), The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), Killer Joe (2011), The Paperboy (2012), Magic Mike (2012), The Dallas Buyer’s Club (2013), and The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013). 

(4) Judy Greer has acted in films like Three Kings (1999), What Women Want (2000), Adaptation (2002), 13 Going On 30 (2004), The Village (2004), Elizabethtown (2005), American Dreamz (2006), 27 Dresses (2008), Love Happens (2009), Marmaduke (2010), Love & Other Drugs (2010), The Descendants (2011), and Playing For Keeps (2012). She has also voiced the character of Cheryl Tunt in the television series Archer (2009-2013). She has also guest starred in television series like Arrested Development, CSI: Miami, My Name Is Earl, Two And A Half Men, Californication, ER, House, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Royal Pains.

(5) Alex Rocco has acted in films like The Godfather (1972) and That Thing You Do! (1996).

(6) Justin Chambers is currently a series regular on the television show Grey’s Anatomy (2005-present) playing the role of Alex Karev. He has also guest starred in television series like Cold Case and Private Practice. He has also acted in films like The Musketeer (2001), The Zodiac (2005), and Broken City (2013). 

(7) Bridgette Wilson has acted in films like Last Action Hero (1993), Billy Madison (1995), Mortal Combat (1995), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Beautiful (2000), and Shopgirl (2005). She has also guest starred in television series like Saved By The Bell, Frasier, and CSI: Miami. 

(8) Kathy Najimy has acted in films like Sister Act (1992), Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit (1993), Hocus Pocus (1993), Bride Of Chucky (1998), and Hope Floats (1998). She has also voice the character of Mary in the animation WALL-E (2008). She has played the role of Olive Massery in the series Veronica’s Closet (1997-2000) and as Peggy Hill in the series King Of The Hill (1997-2010). She also guest starred in television series like That’s So Raven, Numb3rs, The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody, Desperate Housewives, and Ugly Betty. 

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… The Wedding Planner should be watched by anyone who is about to get married. Watch it, then think about why you’re getting married. Is he or she really the last person you want to sleep with? Can you accept his or her little flaws and quirks? Can you commit to the person you’re about to marry till death do you part? Go into your marriage with a clear mind, and I do believe that if you have any doubts before the marriage, don’t assume that things will work itself out after the wedding. Talk it out now before you sign on the dotted line. (4 of 5)


* Movie Poster from Wikipedia

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