BRIDE WARS (2009)
Starring Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Johnson, Bryan Greenberg, Chris Pratt, Steve Howey, Candice Bergen, Michael Arden, Victor Slezak, Kelly Coffield Park, Zoe O’Grady, Shannon Ferber, June Diane Raphael, Charles Bernard and John Pankow.
Screenplay by Greg DePaul, Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael.
Directed by Gary Winick.
Distributed by 20th Century Fox. 90 minutes. Rated PG.
As with most men, the lust for the perfect wedding is lost on me.
I never got the overly ostentatious dresses, the flowers, the garters, the need for drunken revelry, chicken or fish, bad bands, the line dances, the cakes that cost more than a car, the tossing of the bouquet, the something borrowed and something blue. It makes the head spin. Most guys would just as soon have some good friends meet them at a bar for the ceremony.
Yet I do understand that a wedding is something that certain women spend their whole lives fantasizing of – hell I’ve had enough exes who told me this to know it’s pretty common.
However, Hollywood has picked up on women’s bride-lust and has been cranking out wedding movies more and more over the last decade or so. Each one has a very slight gimmick to slightly differentiate itself from all the others, but with very few exceptions they are all basically alike.
Obsess about the bride, the minutiae of the ceremony (the groom really doesn’t matter, he just has to be there to fill out the picture), have the wedding nearly be cancelled and eventually the bride will realize that this isn’t all just queen for a day – it is all about love.
This one’s little quirk is that it is essentially the equivalent of that stupid reality TV series Bridezillas.
Bride Wars is Anne Hathaway’s second wedding movie in a few months, and while Rachel Getting Married was far from perfect, it was light years better than this. Frankly, Hathaway is too good an actress to do this film. Sadly, at this point in Kate Hudson’s career, you can’t say the same for her – she’s done entirely too many of these cartoonish light comedies in recent years.
Bride Wars is an hour-and-a-half of sub-situation comedy hijinks, followed up by an overly obvious climax which not only seems like the easy way out but also leads to a final voiceover which directly contradicts everything the audience had been watching most of the movie.
Yet, I do have to admit, though Bride Wars certainly is not a good movie, I didn’t hate it as much as I probably should have.
This probably is directly attributable to the fact that the actresses are both very likable – even Hudson, who hasn’t really made a good movie since her debut in Almost Famous about a decade ago.
Now when I say that, I am talking about the actresses themselves, not the characters that they are playing. The characters are pretty horrifying, but Hathaway and Hudson are often able to overcome this shortcoming. Hathaway is even talented enough to actually smuggle a few real live emotions into the comic-strip-level narrative.
The story of this film – giving it the benefit of the doubt that there is an actual plotline here rather than just a plot device – has two lifelong best friends who mistakenly get booked for weddings at the Plaza Hotel on the same day. Getting married in June at the Plaza is both of the their lifelong dreams – in fact, they barely speak of anything else in the movie – so before you can say wacky complications, the two brides are sniping at each other.
Of course there are several relatively simple solutions. Since they are best friends, they could do a dual wedding. Or if that is so horrible, one of them could get married in July or August. Even, God forbid, one might have to give up on the fantasy of marriage at the Plaza. Let’s face it, as a New York City schoolteacher; there is no way in hell Hathaway’s character could afford the ceremony, anyway…
However, instead the two supposed best friends get into a war of practical jokes trying to destroy the other’s wedding.
I did mention they were best friends, right?
We have one sending anonymous candy to the girl who used to have a weight problem. One starting rumors that the other is pregnant. One sabotages the other’s spray tan to turn her skin orange. The other fools with the dye at a beauty shop to get her friend’s hair to turn blue.
I did mention they were life-long best friends, didn’t I?
I love the Plaza, but it’s not that nice.
The men in their lives – who really don’t matter anyway, they’re just there to fit the tuxes – try to be moderators to this fight and are totally ignored. Then, one very suddenly becomes a total asshole for no apparent reason and with no real foreshadowing – it just gets the screenwriters out of a the corner they painted themselves into. In the meantime, another male character is waiting in the wings to be the obvious consolation prize.
It’s dumb. It’s manipulative. It’s ridiculous. It’s honestly a bit patronizing to the audience that they are targeting. Only the clear star quality of Hathaway (and, to a lesser extent, Hudson) makes it at all bearable.
Worst of all, in the end the movie broadly hints there could be a sequel which will undoubtedly be called something stupid like Mommy Wars.
Stop the insanity. Ignore Bride Wars and maybe the whole thing will go away.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 14, 2009.