Taylor Watches Rom-Coms Vol. 3: Jennifer Lopez Edition
The good, the bad, and the beautiful (because there's never any ugly in these movies)
Welcome to Movie Star March Madness, our month-long watch-a-long and countdown to Season 2 of The Vince Vaughn-a-thon. Every day in March, we’re celebrating a different actor, movie star, or famous family - one of which will be our focus for Season 2. Play along with us and leave your daily reviews in the comments. For the full schedule and info, read here.
It’s time for the third edition of Taylor Watches Rom-Coms.
This time, it’s the Jennifer Lopez Edition!
The Wedding Planner (2001)
San Francisco’s premiere wedding planner, Mary Fiore is rescued from an accident by the man of her dreams, paediatrician Steve Edison, only to find he is the fiancé of her latest client. As Mary continues making the wedding arrangements, she and Steve are put into a string of uncomfortable situations that force them to face their mutual attraction.
I’ve already spoken at length about my undying love for J-Lo in her most recent rom-com, Marry Me, but let’s just put it on record again that I absolutely love this woman. There are few people as beautiful and charming as her, and that’s exactly what she is in The Wedding Planner playing across Matthew McConaughey (who I have also spoken at length about in my review of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days).
I’ve watched this movie probably a hundred times, but was shocked at how little I remember. Most glaringly, how unbelievably culturally inappropriate it was.
Lopez plays Mary, a wedding planner who is always a bridesmaid (or in this case, planner) and never a bride. Her Italian father particularly hates this because he firmly believes she should be married by now and should maybe consider going an arranged route like her mother and himself. Here’s where the blatantly wild racism comes in: Justin Chambers of Grey’s Anatomy fame plays Massimo- a childhood friend of Mary’s from Italy who has been invited to come and marry Mary. Chambers does the most insanely horrible Italian accent I have EVER HEARD. It’s downright laughable. Did no one prep him? Or give him a coach? Did he just show up and they said, “Your character’s Italian. Just go for it,” and they only took one shot of each scene? It’s insane.
But… I still found it charming. And funny. And adorable. Like everything J-Lo makes.
If you’re anything like me and look back on this movie with rose-tinted glasses, let this be your warning for your next watch.
Maid in Manhattan (2002)
Marisa Ventura is a struggling single mom who works at a posh Manhattan hotel and dreams of a better life for her and her young son. One fateful day, hotel guest and senatorial candidate Christopher Marshall meets Marisa and mistakes her for a wealthy socialite. After an enchanting evening together, the two fall madly in love. But when Marisa’s true identity is revealed, issues of class and social status threaten to separate them.
It’s really hard to choose a favorite J-Lo rom-com, but I’d have to say Maid in Manhattan was probably always at the very top. To me, it’s a definitive movie for her. You say Jennifer Lopez and movie in the same sentence and my mind goes instantly to this one.
Again, though, I was so blown away by how little I remembered! I didn’t remember the love interest being RALPH FIENNES, the literal antithesis of a charming, leading man. I certainly didn’t remember him being a republican. And I really didn’t remember how much Ty talks about Richard Nixon.
It’s not a movie I think would be made now, especially since in the years following Fiennes continued to cement himself as a guy who plays creepy really well, and as political affiliations continue to become more polarized. It truly felt like a time capsule in every way.
That said, I still found it cute. Tyler Posey is downright adorable as Ty and it’s made me want to watch something more recent of his (I was never a Teen Wolf girl or Smallville fan, so his filmography is largely untouched by me). I’m so happy that Ralph Fiennes quit while he was ahead trying to play a leading man so he could do things like The Menu.
The movie is surprisingly really funny, with particularly comedic performances from Natasha Richardson and Amy Sedaris. While it’s a little disjointed at times, trying to walk a tightrope between comedy and straight drama, I think it works a lot of the time and what you get is just simply a solid J-Lo rom-com, which none of us expect to be earth-shattering.
Office temp Charlotte Cantilini thinks she’s found Mr. Right when she starts dating gorgeous surgeon Dr. Kevin Fields. But there’s a problem standing in the way of everlasting bliss: Kevin’s overbearing and controlling mother, Viola. Fearing she’ll lose her son’s affections forever, Viola decides to break up the happy couple by becoming the world’s worst mother-in-law.
My mom and I quote Monster-in-Law on a regular basis, primarily the line, “Fix your hair, ya look like a damn cockatoo.”
During my mini J-Lo-a-thon, this was the movie for which I actually had the lowest expectations. I hadn’t seen it in many years, I’ve probably seen it a little less than the others, and I just had a feeling it wouldn’t age well.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think was my favorite.
Jane Fonda is an unstoppable force. I eat out of the palm of her hand in anything she does. She commands so much space and attention and is so unbelievably funny, even when the script isn’t funny. When you have someone like that playing against the charming yet feisty J-Lo, it’s a match made in heaven.
This is not a perfect movie, but I find it surprisingly effective at being a comedy. They just don’t make them like this anymore! And maybe that’s for many good reasons— but sue me! I had a BLAST!
Credit: Each plot synopsis comes from Letterboxd via TMDb.
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