Every week, EW will imagine a sequel to a movie that we wish would happen – no matter how unlikely the idea really is.
After 1997’s My Best Friend’s Wedding grossed $127 million at the domestic box office, there was talk of a sequel. After all, did we really think sports writer Michael (Dermot Mulroney) and young, tone-deaf Kimmy (Cameron Diaz) were going to last, even if restaurant critic Julianne (Julia Roberts) conceded defeat and loaned the couple her song with Michael for their wedding dance? No! A quick Google search shows producer Jerry Zucker being quoted in 2001 saying that one idea bandied about was, in fact, My Best Friend’s Divorce, which would find Michael and Kimmy on the rocks and Julianne having to decide whether to stage another coup. “It seemed like a contrived way to get those people together again. … We cared too much about the original story to ruin it,” he said.
Sixteen years later, I think the time is right to revisit the idea. My Best Friend’s Wedding is remembered as a good romantic comedy, but it’s not as revered as, say, When Harry Met Sally… I don’t believe those protective instincts still exist. I look at it as Knocked Up and This is 40: The history established in the first film makes you more invested in those characters in the second – you’re already aware of their flaws – but it doesn’t feel like a traditional sequel.
The easiest plot would be to have Julianne and her gay editor George (Rupert Everett) vacationing with Michael and Kimmy on the long weekend that Michael and Kimmy are using to decide their fate. They each expect Julianne, who would have of course been married and divorced in the interim years, to counsel them – which gives her plenty of opportunity to waiver on whether she’ll divide them or reunite them as George judges her. There’d be a great emotional scene for Roberts when Julianne explains to George that as a 45-year-old divorcée, you might consider being an aggressive, backstabbing bitch for 48 hours worth 40 years of future happiness. Thank god, there has been dancing with him, but she wants the sex and the marriage. The fact that I’m not sure whether I’d want Julianne to end up with Michael means: A) She wouldn’t, or B) He doesn’t even need to be in the movie, after all …
What if “the best friend” in My Best Friend’s Divorce refers to Kimmy, who Julianne has grown closer to over the years? Upon announcing her split from Michael, Kimmy and Julianne rent a summer beach house with George, who – twist! – is happily married. The story isn’t about two women fighting over Michael, it’s about two women examining the choices they’ve made (and drinking a lot of wine with George). Kimmy wonders whether she gave up too much of herself in her marriage to Michael, and Julianne struggles with a concept I think a lot of single women her age do: You spend decades telling yourself you don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy, you live your life and are happy, but at some point, you decide a relationship would make you happier, so that means you have to care about the fact that you’re not in one. You think about those women years ago in your office who were obsessed with finding someone, and how you don’t want to be like that, but then wait – Facebook check – all those women did actually find someone. Is that what it takes? Maybe Julianne was so horrified by her actions at that 1997 wedding weekend (which, she should be) that she simply stopped putting herself out there. So while Kimmy is searching for that sense of self, Julianne needs to rediscover that sense of fearlessness.
You’d need an excellent screenwriter to elevate either of those plots above a cliché. I get that. But which do you prefer? Or feel free to pitch your own plot for a My Best Friend’s Wedding sequel below.