As inevitable as tie-in toys and just as disposable, blockbuster soundtrack albums are now merely part of the Hollywood marketing grind. That view, while justified, still sells these records short. Movie soundtracks have become useful educational tools for all facets of the entertainment business — not to mention for life in general! For instance:

Soundtrack as Rediscovery: My Best Friend’s Wedding is a fitting metaphor for Julia Roberts’ career: In it, America’s onetime sweetheart desperately strives to distract her male pal from pretty young thang Cameron Diaz, who represents every in-vogue actress who’s overtaken Roberts. The film is confused and contrived, but at least the soundtrack knows what it wants to do: have us wallow primarily in Burt Bacharach, as reinterpreted by Ani DiFranco (a sweet, boppy ”Wishin’ and Hopin”’) and Mary Chapin Carpenter (”I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”), among others. None of the covers top the originals, and the cast sing-along of ”I Say a Little Prayer” is cute but need not have been preserved on CD. Still, My Best Friend’s Wedding will make you take a vow — of dedication to the eternal appeal of Bacharach and Hal David’s standards. B