Made of Honor (2008)

Rated: PG-13 for sexual content and language. (Downgraded from R)
Length: 101 minutes
Grade: C+D+BC=C+
Budget: $40 million
Box Office: $111 million (46 U.S., 59 Intl., 6 DVD)

Written by: Adam Sztykiel in his first film and Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, who previously wrote Can’t Hardly Wait and Josie and the Pussycats,
Directed by: Paul Weiland, who previously made City Slickers 2 and everything connected with Mr. Bean.
Starring: Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan, Kevin McKidd, Kadeem Haerdison, and Chris Messina.

A perpetual playboy, Tom Bailey finally realizes that the woman of his dreams is his longtime best friend, Hannah, who, gasp!, winds up getting engaged to an exotic Scottish Duke at the same time as he has this revelation. She asks him to be her maid of honor, and he must find a way to win her back before losing her forever.

Entertainment Value: C+
It was fairly funny in the beginning but gradually declined over the last half of the movie. The biggest problem here was that everything here felt soooo formulaic. It just seemed like everything here had been seen or done before, and often enough for me to have that feeling about it. Nonetheless, Dempsey and Monaghan are entertaining, and it’s not awful, if completely implausible.

Superficial Content: D+
Drugs/Alcohol D, Sexuality D, Violence B, Language C, Illegality A
Okay, the running gag in this movie was the grandmother unwittingly wearing a glow-in-the-dark sex toy as a necklace. That should tell you something about the overall class of this movie. Several sex scenes, although no nudity. One discussion is a man haggling over the precise commitment to sex acts with his bride for their prenuptial agreement. There’s plenty of coarse jesting, and the language is definitely PG-13. Honestly, I know that PG-13s get one F word, but the choice to use one in this movie was totally unnecessary and felt very much like they were just trying to satisfy their quota. This movie was originally rated R and then carefully edited down to squeeze into PG-13. I didn’t watch the deleted scenes, but be aware that they probably reflect this reality.
Significant Content: B
Sleeping around is ultimately unsatisfying because marriage is the only way to really be happy and fulfilled. Until you realize this, you’ll just be a guy. When you realize this, you’ll become a man. Or something like that. It’s okay to break up an engagement if you’re really in love. But my favorite theme here is that the person you should marry is the person you are best friends with and can spend hours of time with easily.

Artistic/Thought Value: C
There’s a fair amount of good stuff to discuss here, but the overall movie artistic value is pretty average. One thing I found irritating, the Scottish fiancĂ©e serves as the pretext for the second half of the movie, but isn’t it more plausible that they made this decision more so to guarantee an international market for the film? Also, please explain to me the geeky basketball hangabout guy.

Discussion Questions:
~In this movie, Tom and Hannah know they are right for each other because of friendship despite never having had sex. Despite all the sex Tom has with others, is this movie trying to teach people that sex is unnecessary in a premarital relationship? Is it even trying to teach them that it’s counterproductive?
~What do you think of Tom’s subversive activities? Was he being a true friend or not to Hannah? What would she have said?
~What do you think of Tom’s final act? Was he right or wrong for doing what he did? Did the punch exonerate him? What tactics did this movie use to manipulate you into thinking this would be best for Hannah also?
~Tom advocates the idea that it’s okay to be selfish and immoral as long as you’re honest with people about it? What do you think of this idea? Why is honesty important to him if sexual fidelity isn’t? Is honesty about your debauchery a virtue?
~Tom has crafted a whole series of rules to protect himself from any serious relationship? Are these rules wise or foolish? Why did he do this? How is his father’s love life a cause here? What does this say about the influence of divorce on children?
~Why is Tom so committed to his father’s re-remarriages but not to marriage himself.
~How often do you think that real friendships start with disliking someone?
~Do you think Tom and Hannah’s marriage will work? How likely is it that Tom will cheat in the future?
~In what ways does this movie parallel the process described in the parable of the prodigal son? Did Tom benefit from learning about the emptiness of meaningless sex by indulging in it? Was Hannah his savior?
Overall Grade: C+
Moderately funny. Interesting stuff to discuss. But pretty raunchy, even though it’s only PG-13.

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