Generally speaking, a film which sparks into life, or even ambles along, stays that way for the duration. Those with a chronic opening tend to drive off a cliff within minutes. There are, however, the films of two halves which are the equivalent of two wrecked cars, loaded up on a trailer by night and taken to a dodgy garage, where they re-emerge as one vehicle, created by an inept welder who lets us see the join.
"The Wedding Planner" is one such delight. Sassy, bouncy, and jolly in part one, it becomes fat and flabby on the other side of the join. Following the rules of the standard romantic comedy, it goes for an amalgam of 'what-if?' fantasy (whose touchstone is contrivance) and real emotional truth (either gleaming white smiles or lots of tears). It follows the lonely private life of a wedding planner (Jennifer Lopez) who, despite her professional exuberance and looks which freeze men in their tracks, goes home to an empty flat and microwave meals. The complications, which always slot in amusingly, include her father's fixed ideas of marriage, and her salvation by a golden-haired hero (Matthew McConaughey) who prevents her being flattened by a dustcart. Good heavens, he even turns out to be a doctor and good with kids. McConaughey, perhaps the kind of cove who enjoys staring in the mirror, spends the film like a dewy-eyed, lovesick spaniel, while Lopez is convincingly bright and light or inward-looking and sad. She also happens to get men gawping for every sexy second.
Unfortunately, after the two leads become less wired in each other's presence, and the sexual tension begins to droop, everyone seems to be reading an autocue.
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