Imagine the ultimate chick-flick leading man. He’s foxy and a bit dangerous, with merry dancing eyes and a way of caressing a barbed wisecrack just so. Patrick Dempsey is not quite that guy. He looks good, but with a squinty gaze that doesn’t radiate much light (he could be Sean Penn’s stockbroker brother). He’s sweet, steady, and likable, but someone to count on rather than someone to sweep you away. All of which makes him perfect as the steadfast best-friend-who’s-really-a-romantic in Made of Honor.
When Tom (Dempsey) met Hannah (Michelle Monaghan), the two were at college, and they ended up as buddies. After 10 years of palling around (and, in Tom’s case, sleeping around with sex bombs he treats nearly as badly as the movie does), he realizes that Hannah is the one for him. But she’s gotten herself engaged — to a towering hunk of a Scotsman (Kevin McKidd) who’s like Daniel Craig on steroids — and, as a postfeminist lark, she wants Tom to be her maid of honor. To win her over, he seizes upon the emasculating role, a process that starts out routinely but grows steadily funnier as the movie arrives in Scotland. (There are terrific running gags about brogues, ghastly Scottish cuisine, and DayGlo sex beads.) Made of Honor is a nice cookie-cutter comedy, no more and no less, but Dempsey, with his relaxed charm, and Monaghan, with her soft and peachy sensual spark, rise to the challenge of making friendship look like the wellspring of true love. B