“Maid of Honor” is what it is: a made-for-TV melodrama that is short on the body count and sparse on the scares. That’s not to say that it’s a complete failure, but you really need to go into this one with the right mindset. It promises to be a more domesticated version of “Single White Female” obsessed chick movie, but comes nowhere near that mark.
Laci (Linda Purl) moves in with her brother-in-law Richard (Linden Ashby) and his kids after the death of her sister in an auto accident. After two years of caring for them and settling in as part of the family, Richard has decided he’s ready to move on and remarry. Laci, though, isn’t about to give up “her” family without a fight.
The premise seems strong enough, but there’s too much extra stuff going on here – this film is a classic example of people being too smart for their own good. We’re shown some back-story of Laci “caring for” her mother just to make sure that the audience understands that she’s supposed to be the bad guy. Once you find yourself telling an audience things like this instead of trusting them to figure out the good guys and the bad guys in your film, it’s time to revisit your film. Richard and his fiancee make Laci’s pending “transition” about as awkward as possible, making us feel bad for her (and necessitating the clumsy “mother” story). Laci, bound to ruin her rival sets about digging into her past and actually finds something! Not only is the added story completely unnecessary, it only makes the audience trust Laci more and mother-in-law-to-be Nicole (Shannon Sturges) less. As Laci’s plans continue to unravel, we’re left with a wholly unremarkable “fake death” and some actual suspense for about five minutes at the end of the movie. Add in two kids that we barely get to know and care about even less and the whole thing just leaves you underwhelmed.
Linda Purl is strong in her role and Linden Ashby is serviceable. The underlying story here could have been good if it had been handled competently, but it’s not. If you’re looking for the sort of Lifetime channel suspense that you can watch with your girlfriend who hates scary movies, this might be worth it.