Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Starring Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan and Sydney Pollack,. Directed by Paul Weiland
Running Time: 101 minutes.
Rated: Rating M (moderate sexual references, Infrequent coarse language)

Lots of weddings on screen from the US these days. This is another, quite congenial and, ultimately, strongly in favour of marriage and life-long love and commitment. It would make quite a double feature with 27 Dresses.

However, this is more male-oriented than 27 Dresses, although the central character, Tom (Patrick Dempsey) and his macho basketball playing friends have to learn to recognise and cultivate their feminine side.

In 1998, Tom is at college, the campus Lothario, who is, to say the least, very promiscuous. His moral sense in terms of exploiting women is nil. However, he has rules (such as they are) about his casual relationships and has a more important rule of always telling the truth.

When he encounters a decent woman (mistaking her for her callow roommate), a genial and attractive Michelle Monaghan, he learns a bit of truth about himself. It doesn't change him but he gains a good friend. Hannah even goes to his serial marrying-and-divorcing father's sixth wedding - Sidney Pollack enjoying himself and even getting a rueful and regretful speech for his son. Tom and Hannah work together, talk together but neither of them thinks of marriage to the other.

When Hannah has to go to Scotland for work and falls in love with a Scottish duke, Colin (Kevin McKidd), and brings him back to New York, Tom has just realised that he loves her and wants to propose. Instead, she invites him to be her Maid of Honour at the wedding - and to fulfil all the duties of preparing the bridal shower (his friends do help him), going shopping, meeting the minister and collaborating with the bridesmaids. He also tries to outshine his rival who, it seems, has no skeletons in his closet, is charming and learns to slam dunk baskets (which Tom and co cannot do).

The scene shifts to Scotland and the scenery will have many in the audience making mental notes that they should visit the highlands. Tom takes a chance at beating Colin at the elaborate highland games.

The question in the audience's mind is how is he going to persuade Hannah not to go through with the wedding and marry him instead. You will just have to see Made of Honour to find out.

The very light touch, the charm of Patrick Dempsey, the attractiveness of Michelle Monaghan and the New York settings and Scottish locations all help considerably.

Sony Out May 1

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

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