|If it wasn't already clear that Jennifer Lopez is desperately seeking Madonna, it is now after watching J-Lo's latest vehicle, The Wedding Planner.
When not accompanying bad-ass boyfriend Puff Daddy to court on weapons-related charges, Lopez is cooing at us through her various music videos, which are all annoyingly reminiscent of that "Scrubs" ditty from a few years back, which has become the de facto template for all pop music performed by saucy American women of color.
With The Wedding Planner, Lopez adds the requisite Madonnaesque screwball romantic comedy---see Madonna's The Next Best Thing for confirmation---to her resume. As audience members we know right off the bat Lopez wants to emulate the Ciccone brand name because, as a meticulous organizer of nuptials, she's even got the hands-free headset Madonna used to great effect in the Blonde Ambition Tour circa 1990.
Lopez plays Mary Fiore, the control freak and eponymous planner who, one wedding attendee proclaims, "must live such a romantic life," but, alas, dines alone in front of the TV, not having gone on a date in about two years. It's never made clear how a hottie of Lopez's proportions---she is deservedly famous for her hoochie butt, which was rumored to be, but in fact is not, insured for mega millions---could avoid going on any sort of date for two years, but, then again, the movie takes place in San Francisco where, as everyone knows, what men there are are either married or gay or both.
When Lopez is saved from a runaway dumpster by a fast-thinking hunk (the laid-back and permanently bed-headed Matthew McConnaughey), she falls in love. The hunk happens to be engaged to Lopez's biggest client, the one whose wedding will land her a partnership in her boss's firm.
Meanwhile, the lovable Massimo, the future spouse Mary's father has hand-picked, declares his love for her in broken English and with homemade Kraft Dinner.
Minimal hilarity ensues as Steve and Mary try to deny their feelings for each other, while all-controlling WASP bride-to-be Fran (Brigette Wilson-Sampras, yes that Sampras), a society girl with new dot-com money, unwittingly helps bring them together.
The problem with this movie, which we grudgingly admit was nowhere near as awful as we thought it might be, is that there is simply too much of a gulf between J-Lo the real-life party girl and Fiore, the fastidious and unlucky-in-love wedding coordinator.
There's a reason Meryl Streep rarely plays a crack whore on screen. There's a reason Chris Rock doesn't play a shy, brooding, alcoholic small-town sheriff. It just stretches credibility too much. As moviegoers, we're expected to suspend our disbelief a bit, but this is too much. It's like Tom Cruise playing the role of a brilliant doctor in Eyes Wide Shut. Or Madonna playing the role of a brilliant anything. Anywhere. Anytime.
Anyway, if Lopez ends up marrying then divorcing Puff Daddy, then marrying an angry young British director at a castle in Scotland, don't say you haven't been warned.