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Made of Honor(2008)
For Tom (Patrick Dempsey), life is good: he's sexy, successful, has great luck with the ladies, and knows he can always rely on Hannah (Michelle Monaghan), his delightful best friend and the one constant in his life. It's the perfect setup until Hannah goes overseas to Scotland on a six-week business trip... and Tom is stunned to realize how empty his life is without her. He resolves that when she gets back, he'll ask Hannah to marry him — but is floored when he learns that she has become engaged to a handsome and wealthy Scotsman and plans to move overseas. When Hannah asks Tom to be her "maid" of honor, he reluctantly agrees to fill the role... but only so he can attempt to woo Hannah and stop the wedding before it's too late.
For more about Made of Honor and the Made of Honor Blu-ray release, see Made of Honor Blu-ray Review published by Lindsay Mayer on September 22, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Starring: Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan, Kevin McKidd, Kathleen Quinlan, Sydney Pollack, Chris Messina
Director: Paul Weiland
» See full cast & crew
Made of Honor Blu-ray Review
This botched effort at romantic comedy only comes off as hollow and offensive.
Reviewed by Lindsay Mayer, September 22, 2008
As of this writing, a recent news story revealed that Universal Studios turned down Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's requested $130 million budget for their film adaptation of the popular Tintin comic series. It was a harsh example of the financial concerns of major Hollywood studios in crumbling economic times; it shows that even names with a generous amount of clout behind them, like Spielberg and Jackson, are not immune to the almighty dollar.
I mention this because all films obviously have to be financed somehow. Mainstream studios have to make the conscious decision to greenlight a project, which is often funded by loans from investors. Studios do not have coffers of cash laying around to produce anything they wish – films are strictly a business to them, after all. Why then, one must ask, does atrocious dreck like Made of Honor get produced and released worldwide on a continuous basis? It must have to do with contractual obligations or something - I fail to find any valid explanation for this aggravating phenomenon otherwise.
Made of Honor was honestly the most painful cinematic experience that this reviewer has had for quite some time. Nevermind the tired, fluffy premise that seems to pop up in one form or another in almost every romantic comedy – the resulting film was rife with clichés, stereotypes, and tasteless content. Not even Camp Rock was this awful; Made of Honor has the dubious privilege of being rated and filmed for an adult audience. In this case, that means a sprinkling of expletives and some crude sexual subject matter. Mind you, it's not as if the film treats its audience like discerning adults anyway.
The story begins in 1998, where two college students have a chance run-in. Tom is a senior and a notorious "ladies' man," while Hannah is a brainy freshman majoring in art, and she can see through the veneer of the boy's smooth talking – this chick talks back. And it is that intelligence and matched wit that enamors Tom so fully – and through some inexplicable movie magic, the two become inseparable friends. Fast forward to 2008, and Tom (Patrick Dempsey) is still a ladies' man – through considerably more affluent due to his patent on the "coffee collar" – the cardboard sleeve that encircles hot drinks to make them more tolerable to handle. Okay, more movie magic – whatever. Hannah (Michelle Monaghan) follows her passion for art and works at a prestigious museum in, well, where else to set yet another inconsequential piece of cinema made in the United States? New York City, of course – according to most U.S. movies, the Big Apple is the only city in the world, and certainly the only appropriate setting for contemporary films... outside of, say, France.
Tom and Hannah keep in constant contact with one another, though they nave never been officially "together." Hannah loves Tom's company, putting up with his womanizing and his ridiculous personal code of conduct when seducing women. She respects his way of life and that he, among other things, does not believe in marriage. When Hannah has to take a six week business trip to Scotland, however, Tom quickly grows bored of his ever-changing female playthings, and realizes that he is happiest when with Hannah, and wants to muster up the nerve to ask her to be his permanent partner – marriage or no.
When Tom first meets with Hannah the first night she's back, Hannah naturally has a surprise for him – a burly and mysteriously blonde Scotsman named Colin. Not only are Hannah and Colin together – they are engaged. And Hannah wants Tom to be her "maid" of honor, helping her to set up a whirlwind wedding ceremony in a scant few weeks' time. If Tom wants to win Hannah back, he has to prepare himself to do whatever it takes – including being the best "maid" of honor he can be.
Made of Honor is one of those films that can be told from start to finish in the span of a trailer. No filler material is needed for this 100 minute story, and yet here it is – in all of its groan-inducing glory. As this is "movie reality," the main cast, and the majority of the secondary and tertiary characters, are impossibly beautiful. Most of the female characters are tall and waif-like, and those who are not are tokens, stereotypes, or both. For example, a computer-savvy weblogger is a squat, pig-faced woman and an intensely obsessed near-stalker of Tom, apparently having no life other than to idolize him. The one curvaceous bridesmaid is starving herself to fit into a size 8 dress by the wedding date. She is asked at one point whether a size 12 wouldn't be more appropriate, essentially condemning a perfectly average misses size 12 as undesirably large.
To be fair, even men are not depicted in a plausible fashion; Tom's basketball buddies (including the token black friend and the tenacious mouth-breathing nerd) rally to Tom's aid to win back the girl of his dreams, providing him with maid of honor how-to DVDs and somehow always finding the time to gather together, spending evenings compiling gift baskets and the like. The film is even laced with a xenophobic air; though Colin is a well-to-do duke, and his family owns the largest whiskey distillery in Scotland, the country's cuisine, fashion, and customs are consistently depicted as bewildering and off-putting to the U.S. characters - mainly Hannah. The family's baroque décor, bagpipe performances and habits of hunting seem particularly distasteful. Overall, the film is a somewhat surprising source of offensiveness, blithely breezing by one stereotype after another.
I am by no means a feminist or a "grrrrl power!" kind of woman, but the unabashed depiction of females - at least the throwaway extras who don't matter - as mere commodity and wholly insubstantial was frankly painful to watch. Even as light "chick flick" fare, this film fails on several levels. Aside from some nice photography of Scottish landscapes, there are no redeeming qualities to Made of Honor, and the film's play-on-words title ironically describes the exact opposite of what it really is. Made of Boorish Misogyny? Now that's more like it.
Made of Honor Blu-ray, Video Quality
It's always a surreal experience when, thanks to Blu-ray, one is able to see that even the most rotten of films looks damn good on the screen. Yes, no matter how atrocious the script may be, mainstream films are usually treated to high production values on a technical level. Made of Honor is encoded in AVC and averages about 30 Mbps, making for a crystal clear presentation and an all-around fine picture. Contrast is quite good, and a fine level of film grain is always present. Black levels are rich and deep, while the occasional bright whites show no blooming flaws. Textures on skin, clothes, and hair sport a fine amount of detail, and no evidence of digital noise reduction or any other mastering tricks is apparent. Colors are reproduced faithfully well, and the emerald highlands of Scotland prove to be a particular visual high point. No mastering flaws or film artifacts are apparent on this release, and it's a crying shame that the film's story doesn't match its picture quality in the least!
Made of Honor Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Sony has a habit of giving their major Blu-ray releases a plethora of language tracks to choose from, and Made of Honor is no exception. Supplied with a lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track in English, Portuguese and French, the film also sports both Spanish and Thai tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1. The TrueHD English track is clear and unsullied, and the dialogue-heavy film is never difficult to decipher. Being light in tone, the film obviously doesn't give the ol' speakers a workout, but the scoring and the audio mix overall are well-mastered and boast a good level of clarity. Rears pick up the ambient sound fairly frequently, and LFE is used very sparingly for loud party scenes or the scant amount of action present. Nothing to blow the viewer away, of course, but Made of Honor features good mixes in all.
Made of Honor Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Made of Honor comes with a handful of extra features, none too extensive aside from the standard Audio Commentary with director Paul Weiland. It's entertaining to listen to the British filmmaker drawl on about the film as if it's such a legitimate piece of cinema - otherwise it's really the typical "this is what we tried to achieve in this shot, and this is what we changed from the original script, etc." It's standard fare, though it would certainly have been far more entertaining if Weiland were allowed to be more candid with his thoughts on the actual content of the film; I'm sure more than anything else he was simply a hired hand rather than a visionary creator for this blunder.
Two short featurettes are included on the disc; the first, entitled Save the Date: The Making of Made of Honor, is a 13 minute breeze through the production of the film. Presented in high definition MPEG-2 with a Dolby Digital stereo track, the making-of is the only high definition supplement. In it, location shooting is discussed, as well as the thoughts of cast and crew working on the project. Three Weddings and A Skyline sits down with production designer Kalina Ivanov, wherein she discusses the themes and color palettes she used for the various sets and locations - specifically the weddings and their reception parties. Two brief Deleted Scenes are also provided - Locker Room has a bit of additional discussion between Tom and his buddies, and Highland Games is essentially an extended edition of the existing highland games scene within the film.
The remaining material is chiefly promotional. The BD-Live feature is similar to other Sony Blu-rays, listing downloadable trailers for other titles from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. High definition Previews for Prom Night, Married Life, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, This Christmas, 21, Across the Universe, The Holiday, The Jane Austen Book Club, The Other Boleyn Girl, 50 First Dates, and Catch and Release, as well as the recently postponed Blu-ray releases of Mona Lisa Smile, My Best Friend's Wedding, and Maid In Manhattan.
Made of Honor Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
My lasting impression of Made of Honor is one of stupefied awe; how does a film so obviously bad get produced in the first place? How do projects like these receive financing, when a whole library full of well-written premises and imaginative takes on well-known plot devices stagnate on a shelf, or in the minds of would-be creators? In any case, here we are, and the resulting film can only be judged on its merits. Despite its good picture and audio quality, Made of Honor doesn't have anything worth noting within its feature length runtime, in this reviewer's humble opinion. The blatant stereotyping, the clichéd story devices and characters, and the degradation of women in both open and subtle ways makes this film one to avoid.
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Made of Honor Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Sony Announces Specs for Made of Honor - July 14, 2008
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced the specs for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Made of Honor', due to hit store shelves on September 16th, day-and-date with the DVD release. As previously announced, video will be presented in 2.40:1 1080p AVC accompanied ...
• Sony Announces Four Upcoming Blu-ray Titles - July 7, 2008
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced four new titles coming soon to Blu-ray. First up is 'Redbelt', which is set to hit store shelves on August 26th, day-and-date with the DVD release. This Sony Pictures Classics title will be presented in 2.40:1 1080p ...
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