Bride Wars Directed by: Gary Winick Cast: Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Candice Bergen, Steve Howey, Chris Pratt, Bryan Greenberg Running Time: 1 hr 25 min Rating: PG
Plot: Two best friends (Hathaway, Hudson) are reduced to catty, girly warfare when their respective dream weddings are scheduled on the same day at the same, beloved venue.
Who’s It For? Non-feminists, fans of Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson, and anyone who enjoyed Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality.
Expectations: I was pretty sure I had this movie pegged. I love Anne Hathaway; I love Kate Hudson; the previews were silly and harmless—cotton candy.
Anne Hathaway as Emma: Anne Hathaway is fabulous no matter what she does—drama, comedy, dramedy…for her next project, I vote highbrow horror. With her soft doe eyes and her dainty little frame, you’d expect more timidity, but she tackles any role with such free wheeling whole-heartedness, she can turn a blah part into something fun to watch. And without Hathaway, this part would’ve been unrelentingly blah. Score: 8
Kate Hudson as Liv: If there’s anyone I like as much as I like Anne Hathaway, it’s Kate Hudson. Hudson has deftly stepped into her mother’s adorable, plucky shoes, but she brings her own vein of edgy intelligence and leaves behind any trace of shrill dingbat. Hudson can make even the most average movies enjoyable, because she is so fun and distinct. In Bride Wars, like her brunette counterpart, Hudson goes for the comedic gusto with nothing but the audience’s satisfaction in mind. Score: 8
Candace Bergen as Marion St. Claire: There’s really no way anyone can compete with Hathaway and Hudson, but Bergen puts some effort into Marion St. Claire. She’s almost too likeable for what you’d expect from the most-sought after wedding planner in the country, and Bergen is working from a serious disadvantage—it’s obvious the writers/directors/producers are enamored with Hathaway and Hudson, and everyone else is just there as building blocks in the foundation of the premise. Bergen plays up the deer-in-the-headlights, wedding planner caught between two infuriated bridezillas aspect of the plot, but it could’ve been funnier. Score: 4
Steve Howey, Chris Pratt, and Bryan Greenberg as the backdrop male characters: The men don’t get much screen time, and the two main female characters tend to carry them around like big dolls. The movie needs husbands-to-be and we are presented with both ends of the fiancé spectrum—Pratt is the slightly insensitive, mild chauvinist that makes Emma question her reasons for wanting to be married so badly; Howey is the understanding, uber-cool fiancé that keeps the aggressive and obnoxious Liv’s feet on the ground; Greenberg is the possible wildcard for the unhappy and stymied Emma. The guys try, but again, they are mostly on the periphery. Score: 4
Talking: The dialogue itself isn’t that funny or even well-constructed, but you’ll like how Hathaway and Hudson deliver the lines so much, it almost doesn’t matter. Score: 5
Sights: This is not a film at all concerned with artsy cinematography, but everybody already knew that. The movie is an average female buddy/rivalry movie and it has zero intention of trying for anything more creative or visually striking. Believe it or not, this is a good thing: when an average movie makes lame attempts to transcend its genre, it’s distracting and irritating. Score: 4
Sounds: The score is a mixture of inexpensive songs by unknown artists and normal, uninspired orchestral pieces. Bride Wars toes the line on one of my major movie pet peeves, which is when the film’s music acts as emotional cues. The writing is weak, so the music lets us know when it’s supposed to be sad/touching/happy/etc. Score: 3
Best Scene: Most of the scenes are pleasing without really standing out. Hudson really lets it all hang out when she inadvertently goes into her law firm, blue-haired and quasi hung-over, and Hathaway busts out some surprisingly sexy moves at a Chippendales’ club.
Ending: I read a review that deciphered the ending to Bride Wars as leaving the door open for a sequel, and I personally think that critic must have an unusually low IQ. The ending is cute and predictable and tied in a neat little bow—it’s exactly the sort of implausible ending this completely unfeasible movie should have.
Questions: Why, oh why, Hollywood? Why can’t you give us funny, wonderful actors and good writing? Can’t you see that if you’d put some effort into the script you would’ve had something truly golden?
Rewatchability: Sure, I’d rent it. You catch everything the first time around, so it’s not like subsequent viewings will reveal any hidden layers (there are none). However, if you like Hathaway and Hudson, Bride Wars is a fine guilty pleasure, along with a slice o’ pizza and a cold beer.
A lot of reviewers have come down on Bride Wars because of the unfettered cattiness and materialism—which is true. Yes, the main characters are petty, caricatures. But…I’m a girl, and I wasn’t offended by it. Women, especially women who have dreamed of “the perfect wedding” since they were seven, can stray into bad behavior if said dream is threatened.
This is not to say you, all you other women out there, won’t be insulted by the film’s portrayal of women. I’m just suggesting you shouldn’t be. It is taking a concentrated, minuscule slice of the potential female dark side and exploiting it for laughs. It’s like guy buddy movies, where the male characters are insensitive, sex-crazed jackasses, but the movie itself is still funny. I think we should agree that all human beings, no matter their gender/race/ancestry, are a little ridiculous. Let’s just giggle at the improbable story and move on.
Final Score: 6/10