Bride Wars Reviews
At first, Liv and Emma are crestfallen over the situation. They try to rectify it, but as the reality sets in that one of them must move their date, the claws begin to unsheathe and Liv and Emma become two of the biggest Bridezilla douche-pies this side of the Bravo Channel. What follows is a rapid devolution of their friendship into a tit for tat rivalry. There's a tanning salon fiasco for Emma and a blue-hair incident for Liv. This is meant to be funny, but it's just tedium. Worse still, the fiances are bit players who don't figure much into the movie's equation at all, and by the end, they become so inessential that they could have been replaced by blow-up dolls.
There are a few glimmers here and there in the characters of wedding planner, Marion St. Clair (the always great Candice Bergen) and Deb (Kristen Johnson), Emma's self involved co-worker. Other than this, not even Ann Hathaway or Kate Hudson can breathe any life into Emma and Liv. The mediocre script doesn't help matters much either. Even still, Hathaway barely manages to acquit herself while Hudson can barely muster any presence. Anyone can have a slip or two, but Hudson has done such a string of flops (How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Fool's Gold) that it's less easier to forgive. Her fantastic turn in Almost Famous seems more and more like a fluke.
Bride Wars doesn't know what it wants to be. This is owing to director Gary Winick's shift in tone. The first half is dedicated to the spiteful revenge stunts the girls pull on each other, but the second half becomes a halfhearted focus into each character's relationship with their fiances. Also, there's a thawing set-up towards the ending so we don't hate either of the girls too much by the time the credits roll. It's too little too late since by this time, I could care less for any of the players. I would even forgive the tonal disparity, weak script and blotchy narrative, if it weren't for one egregious, frightfully disturbing theme that I find completely obsolete and not a little offensive. This movie normalizes the fact that girls should have their weddings planned out by the age of seven; regardless of career, hobbies or friends and family that surround her, a woman isn't accomplished until she's walking down the aisle. And when a woman gets engaged, she has license to act rudely, selfishly, and vindictively by simple virtue of that fact. Bride Wars inadvertently makes a great case against any form of marriage, gay or straight.
And the visual ipecac doesn't stop there. The last straw comes during the epilogue, when one final stroke of bathetic manipulation involving a double pregnancy made me realize that Bride Wars is really only good for one thing: stomach pumping.
The answer is apparently not. This mind numbingly dull chick flick not only lacks stamina but is completely devoid of sass and attitude. Even though the concept of friend destroying friend over bride destroying groom is fresh, the idea is squandered in this strained predictable comedy by its lazy writing, miscalculated acting, bad timing and cavalier directing.
Bride wars with its marginally sexist undertones tries to highlight the so called fact that all brides-to-be are materialistic, extravagant and wasteful bridezillas who will stop short of nothing to obtain that one perfect day. Obviously produced before the global economic downturn this film comes across as slightly insensitive and ill-timed.
BFFs Liv (Kate Hudson, co-producer) a take-no-prisoners, my-way-or-the-highway man-eating attorney with an distressingly distracting pudding bowl fringe and Emma (Anne Hathaway) a submissively demure school teacher will little to no backbone live delightfully in there chummy ignorance.
When both girls receive their little blue tiffany boxes, (well one receives and one demands) they are destined to live out their dreams of hiring exclusive wedding planner Marion St Claire (Candice Bergen) to make their fantasy June weddings come true. Luckily they went to the right person and were able to secure two separate dates, both in June at the ritzy Plaza Hotel location.
With the dates booked and impending bliss only months away, Liv and Emma receive an unexpected summons from Marion where they are informed that due to a minor clerical error both bookings are now on the same day same time with no option of change. As the girls are determined to be each other's maid-of-honour a compromise on location must be met, but who will submit.
Since childhood these two diametrically opposed idealistic schoolgirls have provided one another with personality balance in order to accomplish their goals. However, when faced with the prospect of one having to forfeit their perfect wedding the gloves come off and neither wants to back down.
The following hour consists of an overwhelming barrage of backstabbing and sabotage. On a rampage, the girls unleash their vengeance in a shower of Junk food gift baskets, exuberant spray tanning and creative hair dying (this incident sadly is a direct rip off of Hudson's mother Goldie Hawn's first co-producing role in 1980's Private Benjamin)
Leaving the girls torn, shattered and looking oddly reminiscent of an umpa-lumpa and smurf the movie turns on a more sombre note when the girls finally begin to realise that surely their friendship is worth more than one perfect day.
A far cry from Hudson's notable breakout role in Almost Famous and Hathaway's forte for dramatics in Brokeback Mountain this movie leaves you wondering why either actress's would accept such meaninglessly mundane and shallow roles.
The only glimpse of hope and humour injected with any calculated precision is by two strong supporting actresses, screen and stage veteran Kristen Johnston, (3rd Rock From the Sun) who plays an over bearing eccentric colleague of doormat Emma and the grossly underutilised sitcom icon Bergen.
A noticeable missing element is the distinct lack of a strong male role. Delivering weak and rightly terrified boyfriends (Steve Howey and Chris Pratt) regrettably have the stage presence and personality of door knobs.
The Verdict: Notwithstanding scathing reviews, Bride Wars will thrive in the usual Sex in the City style box office success. Relying heavily on repetitive Vera Wang jokes and tedious communication mishaps this movie is destined to living out is short life expectancy in the $6.98 bin in our local DVD stores.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 23/01/2009