Before there was McJamie, there was McDreamy, and Owen Hunt, and Made of Honor. I won’t say the chain gets progressively worse – I’m partial to Kevin McKidd, but those hoping to triple down on this Grey’s Anatomy/Scotland/romcom Venn diagram are in for a disappointment. The movie comes with your standard cool girl caught between two hot guys plot. Hannah (Michelle Monaghan) has been best buds with Tom (Patrick Dempsey) since the day he wandered into her dorm room drunk and wearing a Bill Clinton mask. After hearing about his one night stands for years, she’s ready to have a steady, adult male in her life. A business trip to Scotland leads her to Colin (McKidd), a Scottish royal who gallops in on a horse and rescues her from a downpour and a flock of sheep.
Tom doesn’t take the news of Hannah and Colin’s sudden engagement well and has no idea what to make of the fact that she wants him to be her maid of honor. He does, however, come to realize that she’s the one for him and that maybe he needs to grow up a little. This decision by the writers seems more like a matter of novelty and plot more than anything, but try to find feminist undertones if you must. In the end, it’s mostly a recycled best friend trope, an excuse to keep Tom close to the wedding planning and in conflict with the bride, the groom, and his own feelings.
The limited time that he spends with the bridal party ends up reinforcing some gender conventions. Through Tom’s eyes, we see that Hannah’s friends are catty as ever, whining about dress sizes and tricking him into organizing a bachelorette party that ends with grandma sporting glow-in-the-dark thunderbeads. And though he’s open to sharing his feelings with his basketball friends, including token black best friend (Kadeem Hardison), he proves to be a clueless dude when it comes to what women want.
Wealthy, cultured Colin by contrast is something conjured up from a storybook filled with Scottish clichés – kilts, tartan sashes, bagpipes, castles, Highland games. But might he be too dreamy, too perfect? This idea that American women love the pretense of all things British but in the end just really want an average Joe (in this case who looks like McDreamy) is one of the more interesting things about this movie. In fact, Tom turns out to be so average that we don’t really know anything about him. Outside of his womanizing and puppy dog devotion to Hannah, he’s pretty blank. Though Dempsey looks great for the part, there’s not much of it to play. Which is ironic since the movie is more about Tom than about Hannah. He’s Julia Roberts to her Dermot Mulroney. In that way, you could say this movie subverts expectations, focusing more on the male character’s development. He is the one who finds self-fulfillment by choosing a partner, but do we really need another film about a handsome white guy trying to find himself?
Prod: Neal H. Moritz
Dir: Paul Weiland
Writer: Adam Sztykiel, Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont
Cast: Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan, Kevin McKidd, Kathleen Quinlan, Sydney Pollack, Chris Messina, Kadeem Hardison, Richmond Arquette, Busy Philipps, Whitney Cummings, Kevin Sussman, James Sikking
Time: 101 min
Country: United States