Bride Wars

bride wars

Sometimes it pays to stick through to the end, though I’m still not sure the conclusion to Bride Wars is worth the investment. For at the very most ten minutes, Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson prove themselves to be damn good actresses, far better than the movie deserves. Having spent the first eighty minutes spitting feminist fireballs at the screen, I was surprised to find myself almost teary eyed and wanting to call my best friend, at two o’clock in the morning.

Instead, I’m writing this review and am reminded of the shrill female stereotype that is the backbone of this film. Women can be loving, lifelong friends, but the second you throw in a bit of competition, it is a full-on catfight. Emma (Hathaway) and Liv (Hudson) have gone through puberty and early adulthood as one supportive unit, even though they have opposing personalities and lifestyles. Emma is a teacher and a pushover (an oxymoron if you ask me) while her other female half is a steely corporate lawyer. Both are engaged to their boyfriends within days of each other, which only makes them giddier with delight, and it isn’t until they meet with Marion, a famous wedding planner (Candice Bergen), that the party comes to a crashing halt.

Ever since they were tweens, the two friends have dreamt of a June wedding at the Plaza Hotel. Marion informs them that there is just one open date, so they must either hold their wedding at the same time or one of the women must agree to forgo June nuptials. Some things are open to compromise, but for Emma and Liv, this is not one of them. Thus begins their utterly irrational bride war.

Almost immediately, the sabotage kicks into high gear. They hijack each other’s reception DJ and bachelorette party. One ends up with a tangerine spray tan while another wakes up with blue hair. As they each try to gain the upper hand, all good sense is abandoned because, you know, girls be so crazy. In a flash, Emma and Liv become poster children for women behaving badly. The psychotic woman trope is used to full effect here, and at one point, Liv has a major freak out at work that costs her a client and the project lead. The erstwhile friends get no help from their entourage, who are content to watch the relationship disintegrate, and their only married friend is the perfect picture of a nagging wife. In contrast, Emma and Liv’s fiancés (Chris Pratt and Steve Howey) are sensible enough to first, not stress over the minutiae of wedding planning and second, not burn bridges.

A weird left turn salvages at least the film’s ending and even surprises by not taking the easy route. That storyline doesn’t get the benefit of development though and feels more like a convenience than a carefully considered plot point. At this point, I’m reminded of Marion’s motto – you’re dead until you’re married, and maybe that explains why I am so averse to Bride Wars. Given the chance to transform into a bridezilla, perhaps I’d find a greater sense of sisterhood. Or I’d find that death is happier.

Released: 2009
Prod: Kate Hudson, Matt Luber, Alan Riche, Peter Riche, Julie Yorn
Dir: Gary Winick
Writer: Greg DePaul, June Diane Raphael, Casey Wilson
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Chris Pratt, Bryan Greenberg, Candice Bergen, Steve Howey, Kristen Johnson, Michael Arden
Time: 89 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Reviewed: 2016

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