Paulie (Edward Burns) is getting married to his five-months-pregnant girlfriend, Sue (Brittany Murphy). His brother Jimbo (Donal Logue) is slated to be his best man but seems to be trying to talk him out of it. No pressure. Paulie's groomsmen are made up of a mostly close-knit group of lifelong chums. T.C. (John Leguizamo), the only one of the gang who managed to leave town, returns after a long absence with a secret. Mike (Jay Mohr) is a bit of a screw-up who still lives with his father. He has some separation issues with an ex-girlfriend. Dez (Matthew Lillard) is trying to get the band together (made up of the groomsmen, natch) to play a gig at the rehearsal dinner.
Paulie tries to keep the whole group from flying apart and self-destructing while dealing with his cold feet. It's not abnormal to find similar movies coming out every year, but Burns (who also directs) keeps the dialogue fresh and the conflict situations genuine. You don't get the goofy "whoops, I got two dates for the reception" or "you pretend you're my new lover so I don't show up alone looking like a schmuck" kind of situations you'll find in other films. The situations are real, and so are the characters. They have problems and aren't perfect. Unfortunately, the resolution of all these problems by the end seems a bit far-fetched.
Among all the groomsmen, Dez was the one who really seemed to have it all together. His life moved on more than some of his pals' have. He's got a wife, a solid job, and kids. Lillard's performance is excellent; he still seems like one of the guys, but he has some responsibility and keeps the other boys in line.
The DVD includes some scenes cut from the film that are well worth checking out. John Mahoney's role as Paulie's father was cut entirely. I love Mahoney in Burns' She's the One (1996), where he also played the father of Burns' character. He gives some good advice regarding Paulie's cold feet here.
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