On Friday, as is my wont, when on my routine Target run, I browsed through the cheap DVDs and tossed a number in my cart, including, for five bucks, My Best Friend’s Wedding, a movie I so much enjoyed in its initial release that I had bought the VHS. Indeed, the flick remained one of the handful of videos in my collection that I had not yet replaced with DVDs.
But, like two of those I recently replaced, this flick just didn’t hold up well for a repeat (or re-re-repeat) viewing. I mean, I still found the premise clever, a nice twist on the romantic comedy formula. It was well-written, well-directed and well shot. Julia Roberts was at her best (to me, it seems she either hits the target dead-center bullseye or misses completely; this was a bullseye). The other actors were fine. There were some very funny scenes. Director P.J. Hogan cleverly integrated popular songs into the story.
Or maybe it was just my mood last night. After an emotionally challenging weekend and a day full of errands and household chores, I thought a light romantic comedy would be just the ticket to relax. I started losing interest about halfway through the movie–but this flick that usually holds my attention.
Now, compared to those other two movies I recently upgraded to DVD (from VHS) in my collection, this one actually had a story. The other two movies featured that captivating screen presence and eternal beauty, Audrey Hepburn, one of the few women who could get away wearing some of the bizarre fashions of the 1950s and 1960s and look fabulous, you know, especially that hat with an appendage like an insect’s antenna she wears in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
That was one of the two movies that just didn’t hold up. Roman Holiday was the other. I think I so loved those flicks when first I saw them because of the novelty of seeing the young Hepburn light up a screen. I was just becoming a film buff when I first discovered each flick. I was focused on how that Belgian-born beauty lit up the screen that I didn’t need a story. (Virginia Postrel might attribute this to Hepburn’s deep glamour.)
Some movies, like those two, don’t need a story to survive their initial release — or first viewing (or two). They get by on star power alone. So, that once the novelty of the star’s shine in that flick wears off, so does it’s appeal, but the Roberts’ film had a story and such films, if they survive a third viewing (to me at least), tend to continue to captivate no many how many times I watch them.
Maybe it was that the clever promise of My Best Friend’s Wedding had become old hat. Or maybe some stories just become too familiar to us over time.
*and sometimes even story.