November 28, 2005

Unintentional humor: "My Best Friend's Wedding."

We're watching "My Best Friend's Wedding," which looks beautiful on HDTV, on Showtime, right now. And we just dissolved into hysterical laughter. Here's Julia Roberts, served an elegant dinner in a lovely restaurant, sitting across the table from Rupert Everett -- he's gay! -- and we hear her cell phone ring, she pulls it out, and the thing is as large as a man's shoe!

In the next scene, she's at home, and her phone rings. Chris says: "Her home phone is smaller than her cell phone." And we laugh a lot all over again.


Me: This is a pretty good comedy.

Chris: Do you remember totally hating this movie?

Me: What'd I say?

Chris: I think you said there were too many closeups.

Me: (laughs.)


Chris: These actresses [Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz], if you saw them in real life, they wouldn't be that attractive.

Me: But the thing is, their face, their whole body sends out so much personality.

Later (as Julia Roberts sets up Cameron Diaz for humiliation in the karaoke bar):

Me: She's really evil.

Chris: That's what people don't like about it.

Me: I like that about her!

That's why it's a cool comedy. Julia's bad!


Jeff with one 'f' said...

Closeups are the bane of post-70's filmmaking. It's a shot that's designed for tv viewing.

Julia Roberts is popular with women but I don't know a single guy who finds her attractive in a movie-star sense. She always seems really unpleasant, like she can barely contain her true, negative personality while she pretends to laugh and enjoy things. Ugh.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

My husband sold cellular phones back in the early 90's. His pal sold the "tough talker" in 1987 or 88--a "portable" phone that weighed about 11 pounds. [Upside: indestructible even when dropped from an airplane]. He practiced holding it on 1 finger to demonstrate its portability.

When my husband got a first edition Micro-TAC. it drew lots of oohs and aahs. [and sales. Man! Those were the days!]

Ruth Anne Adams said...

My husband reminded me of Michael Douglas in "Wall Street" talking on a Motorola 3000 while walking on the beach...that thing was at least six inches wide. And, for its time, opulent.

Greybeard said...

Julia Roberts has never given me a tingle.
But change her face ever so slightly, and add blonde hair, you have Monica Potter.
She gives me a BUZZ!

katiebakes said...

I hate Julia Roberts. Not as a person, obviously, since I don't know her, but as an entity.

The problem I always had with My Best Friends Wedding is that there is nothing special or interesting about the man they are both in love with! His character is the most boring one in the entire movie!

Oh, and my generation has a name for that kind of outdated cell: the Zach Morris phone.

Adam said...

Wow -- I get to link to something I wrote 2 1/2 years ago, about how MBFW "is a fundamentally flawed movie. It just doesn't work. But the ways in which it doesn't work tell you everything you'll ever need to know about what makes romantic comedies work when they do work, and for that reason, it's one of my favorite movies to talk about and revisit."

Troy said...

If you want great laughter also. Check out the modems in War Games. I think he's even using dial phones. Actually any of the anachronistic 1980s Cold War fare is high-larious. Red Dawn (Wolverines!!!!) in particular (though not for techie reasons.

For cutting edge, check out Tron.

Julia Roberts -- highly highly overrated -- except for Notting Hill. She has a great publicist.

reader_iam said...


And "Mystic Pizza" (one of her earliest, if not the earliest; I don't recall anymore).

(Although, there are two or three scenes in "Pretty Woman" that I just love, but I wouldn't want to defend those, film-critic wise.)

James said...

I haven't seen MBFW and don't plan to see it.
But, for the Julia Roberts haters, your triumph is surely "Closer," in which she gets outacted by Clive Owen and Jude Law and looks about 75 years old compared to Natalie Portman.

Mark Daniels said...

The thing I disliked about 'My Best Friend's Wedding' was how utterly despicably Julia Roberts' character acted. While her nastiness ultimately didn't pay off, the film seemed to nonetheless elevate such behavior.

Frankly, I've never found Julia Roberts attractive on the screen, let alone in real life.

Mark Daniels

Ole said...

Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I've seen Julia Roberts in person, twice (in L.A. restaurants), and she is stunning. Her smile is as bright in real life as it is on the screen.

Wade Garrett said...

I don't know what to think about Julia Roberts. I think she's a good actress, and she seems to be an intelligent, literate person in real life, but I don't care for many of her movies, and I agree that her looks are somewhat overrated.

There are some women who other women find more beautiful than men find them. Julia Roberts is one example . . . also, Angelina Jolie, probably some others. I think Angelina Jolie is gorgeous, but almost every woman I know thinks she's gorgeous, and only about half of the men I know agree with them. I don't really know why that is. On the other hand, I think the actress Maura Tierney is beautiful, and most of my female friends disagree with me about that.

In college, I had a couple of classes with Jordana Brewster and Claire Danes. I found Brewster to be every bit as attractive in real life as she is in the movies, though she sort of acted as if she was above everybody else in the room, which made her less appealing. I didn't find Danes to be as attractive in person as she always is on the screen, which was a big letdown for me, because I had the biggest crush on her when she starred in "My So-Called Life!"

Wade Garrett said...

I too had the pleasure of watching some great unintentional comedy over the weekend: R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet." It is a 12-song hip-hop opera, concerning a love octagon in which all of the participants know each other, but aren't aware of the fact that they all know each other.

Not only are all of the songs hilariously overwrought, but Kelly sings all eight parts himself, showing little concern for meter or rhyme. It is impossible to overstate its corniness.

SippicanCottage said...
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Finn Alexander Kristiansen said...

I find Julia's lips mildly disturbing, but I did like her in The Runaway Bride.

Reader_iam mentioned Mystic Pizza, and I think Julia did well in that. It's one of my favorite films, but mainly for actress Lili Taylor, not Julia.

I loved Taylor in Mystic as well as in Dogfight and Household Saints (which, like Mystic, also had a young Vincent D'Onofrio).

Matt Brown said...

I will stand up and say that I am male, and I have always found (and still do) Julia attractive.

Julia's character was nasty in "MBFW," yes, but that's the point, and we're not supposed to like her behavior. Cameron Diaz had to walk a fine line with her character - the audience would root for Julia to win Dermot Mulroney's heart if Cameron was seen in any way as shady or just a spoiled brat with ultra-rich parents.

The chef yelling orders in the opening scene at the restaurant is the famous Charlie Trotter of Chicago. Funny that the film has Julia travel from wherever (I assume New York - haven't seen the film in a while) to Chicago, but at the beginning she's at a restaurant of a chef whose real-life restaurant is in Chicago.

bluebizz said...
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vbspurs said...

Me: (laughs.)

I bet you have a vulgar laugh, like mine.

I have my mother's laugh, actually -- the kind that sets everyone else laughing, just by hearing yours.

I love laughter like that.


vbspurs said...

My husband sold cellular phones back in the early 90's. His pal sold the "tough talker" in 1987 or 88--a "portable" phone that weighed about 11 pounds

Two funny cellphone (what we call mobiles) scenes in films:

1991-or-so film with William Hurt, called "The Doctor".

When someone is in distress in a carpark, he offers him his cellphone to use to call someone.

Flip, slim, tiny. Way ahead of its time.

Heck, it's smaller than the brand-new Nokia flip I just got last month.

The other is "Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion", which should be better known than it is.

Upshot: Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino decide to fake-success their way to their HS Reunion, and one method they employ is to hire these impossibly big 1992 beige Motorola cellphones, already obsolete and laugh-worthy in 1997.

P.S.: I can't stand Julia Roberts, the actress. It's the mouth. Grotesque. You have the impression she could eat the Grand Canyon.


Balfegor said...

>"It's the mouth. Grotesque. You have the impression she could eat the Grand Canyon."

And how! Those teeth are the stuff of nightmares!

Regarding the differing male/female standards for attractiveness, I wonder whether the extraordinary thinness of most of our leading actresses today might not be a function of "female"-aesthetics rather than male. Most men, as far as I can tell, prefer someone a bit less bony looking, but that preference is not, by and large, reflected in film.

Ann Althouse said...

I just want to say that I did not actually sit through this movie on TV. We were just channel-surfing, saw that it was starting, and watched the first 15 minutes. You'd have to pay me to sit through the whole thing. I would probably be willing to do it for $100.

Unknown said...

I find there to be a really unusual trend in the choices for female leads in Hollywood these days - they just aren't very good. I don't think anyone can convince me that Renee Zellwegger, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry and Julia Roberts are good actors. Zellwegger's performace in Cold Mountain is particularly attrocious.

But then I would have said the same about Charlize Theron before she did Monster. She was always used as movie fluff - if a movie needed nipples and perhaps pubic hair they'd sign her up. In Monster she does a decent job, though not oscar worthy at all in my opinion. I think people were more stunned that she wasn't just playing movie fluff.

Pete said...


And here you were lamenting just a few posts ago about how there aren’t any movies being made worth talking about with your friends. . .

For the record, I can’t stand Julia Roberts, and that’s aside from her goofy politics. She was just awful in Erin Brockovich – another character where, in my view, she was just mean and not heroic, as the filmmakers intended. Oh, and then there’s here turn as Tinkerbell in Hook. Yuck.

tefta said...

Julia Roberts, like Sophia Loren and some other actresses, don't have insipid Barbie doll good looks and can be madeup and look anything from gorgeous to ugly depending on how they're made up and photographed.

I can't tell if Angelina Jolie is beautiful or not. When she's on the screen all I can see are her engorged lips which I'd guess were enhanced by some sort of injections. No wonder she likes Africa so much. She must relate to those Ubangi women who insert clay plates in their lips to distend them, a mark of beauty in their culture.

Henry said...

My Best Friend's Wedding turned my stomach. Julia is really evil. That's not the problem. The problem is that we're supposed to like her anyway. It's like watching a war movie and laughing at the collateral damage.

There's also not enough Rupert Everett.

Who should have been the next James Bond.

knox said...


I LOVED "My So-Called Life" when it was on, even though I was in my early 20s at the time (too old, really, to be watching a teen drama.) Claire Danes was so excellent in it.

And "Trapped in the Closet" is truly hilarious...My sister is always finds excuses to start singing it and we laugh like hyenas.

knox said...

....and Mr Bungle, I couldn't agree with you more about Renee Z. in Cold Mountain.

I love that novel, and was insulted by her Hee-Haw, doofy portrayal of a character who was *supposed* to be quite dignified, if a little rough around the edges. Then to win all that praise for it?!?!?! If it wasn't so annoying it'd be a good piece of comedy too.

Unknown said...

Renee channeling Hee Haw is exactly what I saw in her performance. I understand that actors put their own twist on a literary character, but I too had read the book and could not believe the pantomime-southerner that she was projecting.

Anonymous said...

yeah ahow some respect for julia roberts she is a pretty actrees it's not her fault the way she acts she has good acting skills and some of you people are so damn jeolous of her and her fame i hope god puts you people in hell you should all be a shamed of your selfs and get alife and a grip all you can all do is put down julia roberts that shows to much jeolously and selfishness in you all.