Australian director and screenwriter P.J. Hogan spent the 1990s virtually putting his trademark on black comedies revolving around marriage-obsessed young women. Hogan had his breakthrough with 1994's Muriel's Wedding, a film of the aforementioned nature that proved to be an international sleeper hit.
Before the film's success, the director, who graduated from the Australian Film and Television School, spent much of the 1980s toiling in relative obscurity and poverty. He did find a bit of early success as the director, writer, and editor of the 1984 short Getting Wet, which won two Australian Film Institute awards. In 1991, Hogan served as the second unit director and script editor on wife Jocelyn Moorhouse's acclaimed Proof; two years later, with virtually no payment, he wrote and directed Muriel's Wedding. The great success of the film, which also helped to launch the careers of actresses Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths, afforded its director recognition on both sides of the Pacific.
Just how much recognition was evident when Hogan was tapped to direct the Julia Roberts vehicle My Best Friend's Wedding. Like Muriel's Wedding before it, the 1997 film was a black comedy revolving around its heroine's matrimony-inspired borderline insanity, and it proved to be one of the most popular films of the year. In addition to further securing Hogan's reputation, it made a star out of Rupert Everett (who stole the film as Julia Roberts' gay confidante) and marked the triumphant return of Roberts to the romantic comedy genre. Hogan and Everett re-teamed in 2000 for another romantic comedy, Unconditional Love, which cast the actor as the lover of a murdered pop star (Jonathan Pryce) who joins forces with an American woman (Kathy Bates) to solve the star's murder. The film featured a script written by Hogan and wife Moorhouse.