By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated January 31, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

The Wedding Planner is an out of date 1950s movie about a career gal, a self described control freak who works hard planning other people’s weddings because she can’t find the right guy around whom to plan her own. Mary (Jennifer Lopez) may preside coolly over armies of underlings in the production of lavish bridal events, but she’s really a home loving little woman devoted to her widowed Italian papa.

And when she does meet her Prince Charming (Matthew McConaughey), he turns out to be the right down to earth guy engaged to the wrong, upper class doll (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, at ease with playing tawny pouty types), a high maintenance daddy’s girl whose lucrative wedding account Mary has just landed. This dogged attachment to a romanticized social conservatism may fit our current political climate and the retro fantasies of teenage girls, but it undermines the occasional charms of such a graph plotted romantic comedy, which suffers particularly in inevitable comparison with ”My Best Friend’s Wedding.”

Where Julia Roberts turned the world on with her huggability, Lopez’s vibe is that of someone afraid to get mussed. And where Rupert Everett was divine as a sidekick, McConaughey is mortally ordinary as a main dish who spends most of his time smiling like a party guest. For diversion, look to Fred Willard capering as a ballroom dance instructor and Joanna Gleason enjoying her role as a tippling mother of the bride: Both veterans make their own fun at this perfunctory catered affair.