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“In today’s divisive political climate, where compromise is a dirty word,” observed Leslie Rigoulot of Film Scouts, “ was one of the most popular television series of the 1970s, thanks in no small part to its genius lowbrow blend of runway-ready jiggle and consequence-free violence — so when Drew Barrymore set about producing a big-screen adaptation of the show, she wisely included heaping helpings of both ingredients, enlisting Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz to join her for 98 minutes of skin-tight blockbuster action. Unusually for a romantic comedy, it was also praised by many critics, among them the Globe and Mail’s Rick Groen, who wrote, “Every once in a long while, along comes a refreshing change like My Best Friend’s Wedding, a movie whose appeal rests largely on its knack for defying our expectations by riffing off, even undermining, a familiar genre.” follows the tale of two sisters: Dowdy lawyer Rose (Collette) and flighty, unemployed Maggie (Diaz).
Also new and improved: The storyline arc for Cameron Diaz’s character, Princess Fiona, who went from an ordinary ogress to the unwilling, secretly cursed royal fiancee of the loathsome Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow), and picked up a few action hero moves in the process.
While it wasn’t strictly faithful to the source material, was lots of fun for critics and audiences alike; it grossed nearly 5 million worldwide, nabbed the first Best Animated Feature Academy Award, and earned the admiration of scribes such as the New York Observer’s Andrew Sarris, who applauded, “What gives its special artistic distinction is its witty and knowingly sassy dialogue, delivered by vocally charismatic performers whose voices remind us of their stellar screen personae in live-action movies.” surrounded the titular ogre (again voiced by Mike Myers) and Princess Fiona (Diaz) with an array of new characters, including the suave Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) — but what sets it apart from other follow-ups is the depth and intelligence of its storyline, which sends Shrek and Fiona to the kingdom of Far Far Away, where they’re summoned to meet Fiona’s human parents (voiced by John Cleese and Julie Andrews), who are horrified that their daughter has taken so thoroughly to the ogre lifestyle.
Though it was ostensibly Stiller’s movie, it was Diaz who made us believe that there really something about Mary — something that would make her senior prom date (played by Stiller) hunt her down years after the painful zipper incident that cost them their big night out, and drive the other men in her life to contemplate leaving their wives, duck out on the Green Bay Packers, or even adopt entire fake personalities.
And along the way she carried the most notorious hair gel joke in the history of modern man, helping send an unapologetically lowbrow comedy all the way up to 83 percent on the Tomatometer.