It’s the film which established Cameron Diaz as Hollywood’s newest golden girl, turned Dionne Warwick’s soul classic I Say a Little Prayer (For You) into a karaoke staple, and, unusually for a romantic comedy, didn’t give its lead the happy ending we all would have expected.
20 years to the day that it first hit cinemas on the other side of the Atlantic (June 20), here’s a look at 20 things you may not know about the box-office hit, My Best Friend’s Wedding.
It was the eighth highest-grossing film of 1997
My Best Friend’s Wedding was one of the highest-grossing and most profitable films of 1997, raking in nearly $300m on a budget of just $38m.
The film finished in eighth place in the end of year rankings, just above The Fifth Element and The Full Monty, and just behind As Good As It Gets and Liar Liar.
The film was kept off the US top spot by an all-time stinker
Despite this, My Best Friend’s Wedding never actually made it to the number one spot in the US.
Indeed, in its opening weekend if was denied pole position by none other than notorious franchise killer Batman And Robin.
There’s a Chinese remake
It’s not just Hollywood that resorts to endless reboots, reimaginings and remakes.
The Chinese film industry is also no stranger to the adaptation, and hot on the heels of Only You and What Women Want, My Best Friend’s Wedding became the latest US rom-com to receive a Far East makeover in 2016.
It was recognised at the Oscars, BAFTAs and Golden Globes
Although it didn’t actually win any major gongs, the film was still recognised at the three biggest awards in the film industry.
Rupert Everett was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs, Julia Roberts also picked up a Best Actress nod at the former, and composer James Newton Howard received a nomination for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score at the Oscars.
The soundtrack album reached number one in Australia
Best-known for the covers of I Say A Little Prayer (For You) by both Diana King and the film’s main cast, the original soundtrack also featured the likes of Tony Bennett, Ani DiFranco and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
As well as providing King with her last Top 40 hit on both sides of the Atlantic, the album also reached number one in the Australian charts too.
A TV spin-off was planned
In 2015 news emerged that ABC had teamed up with My Best Friend Wedding’s writer Ronald Bass to create a small screen spin-off of the film.
Set immediately after the events of the original, the show was supposed to follow Julianne and best friend Michael as they returned to New York.
But two years later and the idea appears to be stuck in development hell.
There’s a Date Movie parody
My Best Friend’s Wedding’s most famous scene was parodied in one of the many witless spoofs that emerged in the wake of Scary Movie.
2006’s Date Movie features a scene in which the bride and groom to be (Alyson Hannigan and Adam Campbell) and the rest of the table all sing along to I Say A Little Prayer (For You) with oh so hilarious results.
Julia Roberts also kinda recreated the scene
Julia Roberts also paid homage to the same scene during an appearance at the A-list Lancome’s Stars and Wonders Gala in 2017.
Encouraged by a mobile phone-waving Penelope Cruz, Roberts can be seen singing along to a performance of the 1967 hit alongside the Spanish actress and fellow attendee Kate Winslet.
The crew had a red carpet mix-up
The scene in which everyone watches Kimmy throwing the bouquet was filmed at Vernon Hills’ Cuneo Museum and Garden.
The crew had to remove the building’s large red carpet in preparation for the sequence, but forgot to tell anyone where they stored it.
It was only found by the museum staff several months later.
Julia Roberts had a say in the casting
Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz may have been rivals on screen, but the former was actually responsible for casting the latter off it.
Indeed, Roberts was instrumental in helping Diaz to land the role of super-rich but super-likeable bride-to-be Kimmy Wallace, and also personally handpicked Dermot Mulroney to star as the object of her affections, Michael O’Neal.
Drew Barrymore missed out on a role
Roberts’ championing of Diaz ensured that another rom-com favourite missed out on the role.
Indeed, none other than Drew Barrymore read for the part of Kimmy before being passed over in favour of her future Charlie’s Angels co-star.
Another rom-com favourite nearly bagged the lead role
However, Roberts very nearly missed out on appearing in My Best Friend’s Wedding herself.
Sarah Jessica Parker was initially lined up to play potential homewrecker Julianne Potter, but had to rule herself out due to her commitments on Sex And The City.
There have been several semi-reunions
Various cast members have continued to work together on other projects in the 20 years since My Best Friend’s Wedding was released.
Cameron Diaz and Rupert Everett both voiced characters in the Shrek franchise (Princess Fiona and Prince Charming), while Julia Roberts and Dermot Mulroney reunited on 2013 drama August: Osage County.
Diaz and Roberts both went on to play Abigail Breslin’s mother
Coincidentally both Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts ended up playing the mother of Abigail Breslin in separate projects.
Diaz first starred opposite the Oscar-nominated youngster in 2011 weepie My Sister’s Keeper before Roberts did the same in ensemble August: Osage County.
There was an alternate ending
The original cut of the film featured a closing scene in which Julianne meets a man played by John Corbett (aka Aidan in Sex And The City).
However, this didn’t test well with audiences and so a new ending in which Julianne dances with George was filmed instead.
Test audiences wanted Julianne dead
In fact test audiences hated Roberts’ character so much that they actually wanted her dead.
Director PJ Hogan revealed just earlier this year that viewers didn’t like how Julianne tried to sabotage Michael and Kimmy’s big day, and would rather she died than have a happy ending.
Rupert Everett originally had a much smaller role
Rupert Everett had been acting since the early ‘80s, but it was his scene-stealing turn in My Best Friend’s Wedding that launched him to worldwide fame.
However the role of Julianne’s gay best friend George (originally named Digger) was initially a relatively minor one, and producers only gave him more screentime after realising how popular the character was with test audiences.
Paul Giamatti makes a cameo
Paul Giamatti may now be one of Hollywood’s most prolific character actors, but back in 1997 he was a virtual unknown.
In the same year he landed his first major role in Howard Stern biopic Private Parts, he also briefly appeared as a bellhop in My Best Friend’s Wedding.
So does the voice of Mr Burns
Best-known for voicing the likes of Mr Burns, Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner in The Simpsons, Harry Shearer also makes a blink and you’ll miss it appearance in the film.
The actor, also a member of iconic rock parody Spinal Tap, plays a minor character named Jonathan P F Ritt.
Dermot Mulroney’s up for a sequel
Dermot Mulroney initially wanted to distance himself from the film but revealed last year that he’d now be open to returning for a sequel.
The actor told the Huffington Post: ‘There was a period shortly after it was out that was like, “Oh, please, go away, leave me alone.” And that passed, and I’m back to really just, I can’t believe that I’m in a movie that has that kind of staying power.’
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This article is about the Julia Roberts film. For the Scrubs episode, see My Best Friend's Wedding (Scrubs). For the Chinese remake, see My Best Friend's Wedding (2016 film).
My Best Friend's Wedding is a 1997 American romantic comedy film directed by P.J. Hogan, starring Julia Roberts.
The film received generally positive reviews from critics and was a global box-office hit. It is considered as one of the best and classic romantic comedy films of all time.
The soundtrack song "I Say a Little Prayer (For You)" was covered by singer Diana King and featured heavily in the film, making it a Billboard Top 100 hit. The soundtrack featured a number of Burt Bacharach/Hal David songs.
A Chinese remake of the same name was released in China on 5 August 2016.
Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts), a 27-year-old New York City restaurant critic, receives a call from her lifelong friend Michael O'Neal (Dermot Mulroney). In college, the two made an agreement that if neither of them were married by the time they turned 28, they would marry each other. Three weeks before her 28th birthday, Michael tells her that in four days, he will marry Kimmy Wallace (Cameron Diaz), a 20-year-old University of Chicago student from a wealthy family.
Julianne is disappointed that Michael will marry someone whom she perceives as being so wrong for him, and someone he has known for such a short time. She realizes that she is in love with Michael, and heads to Chicago, intent on sabotaging his wedding. Soon after arriving she meets Kimmy, who asks her to be the maid of honor. This sets off a subplot in which Julianne must pretend to be the dutiful maid of honor while secretly scheming ways to prevent the wedding from happening. She engages in petty sabotage—for example, taking Kimmy and Michael to a karaoke bar after discovering that Kimmy is a terrible singer—and later asks her gay friend and editor George Downes (Rupert Everett) to pretend they are engaged, hoping to make Michael jealous.
When these tactics fail, George persuades Julianne to do the obvious: tell Michael that she is in love with him. One morning, Michael gets Julianne alone and tells her that it'll be the last time they ever get to be alone. He expresses some skepticism in marrying Kimmy, explaining that he and Kimmy don't share a special song like he and Julianne do. Michael discreetly gives Julianne the invitation to tell him she's in love with him, but she lets the opportunity pass. Michael starts singing their song as he grabs Julianne and holds her while they dance one last time. Julianne's unauthorized use of Kimmy's father's computer to forge an email message to Michael's employer causes further problems for Michael and Kimmy, to the point where they are on the verge of calling off the wedding.
The next morning, the day of the wedding, Julianne tries to sabotage the situation further; as Michael and Kimmy are not speaking to each other, they communicate through Julianne, not realizing she is trying to manipulate them into breaking up for good. In spite of this, Michael and Kimmy decide they do love each other and want to get married after all. Julianne and Michael then take a walk, with Julianne finally confessing her love to Michael. She asks him to marry her instead, and passionately kisses him. Kimmy witnesses this, and runs off, but Michael chases her.
Julianne pursues Michael, but after a frantic phone call in which she explains the situation to George, she finally accepts that Michael loves Kimmy. Julianne finds Michael at Chicago Union Station, where he is looking for Kimmy, and confesses all to him. Despite his anger at her deception, Michael forgives Julianne, and they split up to look for Kimmy. Julianne then tracks down Kimmy in the bathroom of Comiskey Park (Kimmy's family has a private viewing box at the stadium). Kimmy, rightly furious with Julianne, confronts her, while the other women watch, immediately siding with Kimmy and are disgusted with Julianne's dirty tactics. Julianne, however, apologizes and explains to Kimmy that she kissed Michael unexpectedly, but he didn't kiss her back because he was in love with Kimmy. Julianne declares that Kimmy has won, and that she accepts Michael's decision. Kimmy and Julianne reconcile with each other while the witnesses applaud.
After the wedding, at the reception, Julianne tells Michael that he and Kimmy can use their special song until they find one of their own, essentially acting like a true best friend. Julianne wishes them well, and she and Michael share their goodbyes, both of them finally moving on with their lives. Later, Julianne is surprised by George showing up at the wedding reception. The movie ends with the two of them happily sharing a dance together.
Parts of the movie are filmed inside the famous Drake Hotel on N. Michigan Ave & E. Walton in the Gold Coast neighbourhood of Chicago.
- Julia Roberts as Julianne Potter, a 27-year-old food critic who realizes she's in love with her best friend Michael and tries to win him back after he decides to marry someone else.
- Dermot Mulroney as Michael O'Neal, Julianne's best friend and a sportswriter who is engaged to Kimmy Wallace.
- Cameron Diaz as Kimberly "Kimmy" Wallace, Michael's fiancée who comes from an affluent family.
- Rupert Everett as George Downes, Julianne's gay friend, editor who pretends to be engaged to Julianne to make Michael jealous.
- Philip Bosco as Walter Wallace, husband of Isabelle, father of Kimmy, and future father-in-law of Michael. He is a rich businessman who owns the Chicago White Sox baseball team.
- M. Emmet Walsh as Joe O'Neal, father of Michael and Scotty O'Neal and future father-in-law of Kimmy. He suggested that Julianne be Michael's best man, but had to go with Scotty instead.
- Rachel Griffiths as Samantha Newhouse, twin sister of Mandy and one of Kimmy's bridesmaids.
- Carrie Preston as Mandy Newhouse, twin sister of Samantha and one of Kimmy's bridesmaids.
- Susan Sullivan as Isabelle Wallace, wife of Walter, mother of Kimmy, and future mother-in-law of Michael.
- Christopher Masterson as Scotty O'Neal, youngest son of Joe and younger brother of Michael and future brother-in-law of Kimmy. He serves as his brother's best man at his wedding.
The film opened at No. 2 at the North American box office, making $21,678,377 USD in its opening weekend, behind Batman & Robin. It stayed in the top 10 weekly U.S. box-office for six consecutive weeks, and eventually earned $127,120,029. The worldwide gross total stands at $299,288,605 (listed as one of the 10 biggest films of 1997 both domestically and worldwide).
The film received generally positive reviews from critics. As of 27 February 2018[update], the film holds a 73% approval rating on review aggregatorRotten Tomatoes, based on 59 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Thanks to a charming performance from Julia Roberts and a subversive spin on the genre, My Best Friend's Wedding is a refreshingly entertaining romantic comedy." On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 50 out of 100 based on 23 critical reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Total Film praised the film, giving it four stars out of five and stating "Here she banishes all memories of Mary Reilly and I Love Trouble with a lively, nay sparkling, performance. Smiling that killer smile, shedding those winning tears, delivering great lines with effortless charm, Roberts is back where she rightly belongs - not in grey period costume, but as the sexy queen of laughs". The Review also said that "My Best Friend's Wedding is a perfect date movie", and a film that "proves Roberts isn't as crap as we all thought she was".
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called it "the summer-date-film supreme for pretty women and the gay men they love", despite criticisms of the script. He praises Roberts as "riper, more dexterous with a comic line, slyer with modulation", concluding that "Roberts puts her heart into this one".
Joanna Berry of Radio Times gave it four stars out of five, observing that this "sparkling comedy" proved to be a career-resurrecting movie for Julia Roberts.
CNN movie reviewer Carol Buckland said Roberts "lights up the screen", calling the film "fluffy fun".
Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times said, "One of the pleasures of Ronald Bass' screenplay is the way it subverts the usual comic formulas that would fuel a plot like this."
Andrew Johnston (critic), writing in Time Out New York, observed, "The best scene occurs when Julianne's gay editor and confidant George (Everett) turns up in Chicago and poses as her fiancé, seizing control of the film for five delicious minutes. His devilish impersonation of a straight guy is priceless, and things only get better when he leads a sing-along at the rehearsal dinner. At times like this, when the film spins into pop culture overdrive that it stops being a star vehicle and flirts with genuine comic brilliance."
Awards and recognition
American Film Institute recognition:
The soundtrack was released on June 17, 1997 with Stage and Screen genre. The soundtrack relied on covers of familiar songs. The soundtrack was praised by AllMusic to work "better than it should, since most of the vocalists... concentrate on the songs..."
- "I Say a Little Prayer (For You)" – Diana King
- "Wishin' and Hopin' " – Ani DiFranco
- "You Don't Know Me" – Jann Arden
- "Tell Him" – The Exciters
- "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" – Nicky Holland
- "I'll Be Okay" – Amanda Marshall
- "The Way You Look Tonight" – Tony Bennett
- "What the World Needs Now Is Love" – Jackie Deshannon
- "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" – Mary Chapin Carpenter
- "Always You" – Sophie Zelmani
- "If You Wanna Be Happy" – Jimmy Soul
- "I Say a Little Prayer (For You)" – The Cast of My Best Friend's Wedding
- "Suite From My Best Friend's Wedding" – James Newton Howard
- Chart positions
Main article: My Best Friend's Wedding (2016 film)
A Chinese remake directed by Alexi Tan, and with Shu Qi, Feng Shaofeng, Victoria Song and Ye Qing in the main roles, is scheduled to start filming in July 2015 and to be released in China in 2016 on Valentine's Day.
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