Judge Brett Cullum objects to the marriage of talented actresses to fluffy forgettable comedies.
Our review of Bride Wars (Blu-Ray), published May 8th, 2009, is also available.
Liv: "Your wedding can suck it."
Bride Wars is a screwball comedy about best friends who end up accidentally having their dream weddings scheduled on the same day. It stars a pair of the most promising actresses working today, but asks little more of them than to shriek like banshees and drool over Vera Wang wedding gowns. I suppose it could be a fun film if you're in the mood for light comedy without depth or thought, although it seems to have a bland streak that makes it feel completely inconsequential. Bride Wars is quite unbelievable, stretching out the plausibility of how hellish a woman can be about her big day. Could women truly take weddings this seriously? Are they worth throwing your best friend under a bus, or at least turning her different colors before the ceremony?
Facts of the Case
Liv (Kate Hudson, The Skeleton Key) and Emma (Anne Hathaway, Get Smart) have been "best friends forever" since they were little girls playing dress up in the attic. Both dreamed of a fairy tale June wedding at the iconic Plaza Hotel after seeing one on a magical sunny afternoon. When the two twenty-something gal pals get engaged in the same week, Liv and Emma recruit the highly sought after wedding planner Marion St. Claire (Candice Bergen, Murphy Brown) to secure the dream locale and deliver their fantasy. Unfortunately, a poorly timed clerical error sets the weddings on the same day. And so begins a bitchy rivalry of increasingly ruthless sabotage as both girls refuse to move their nuptials.
Bride Wars feels stuck in the middle, never moving in a direction that would save it from marital comedy mediocrity. The relationships are not sweet enough to make it a life affirming best friend picture, nor are the antics acidic enough to make it the black comedy it could have been, like War of the Roses. It's odd how the characters do not feel fleshed out—particularly any guy thrown in to the mix. The two grooms to be, a brother, and an assistant all look and act so much the same I couldn't tell them apart when they appeared solo. The whole thing makes me realize what was so charming about Sex and the City, where materialism was at least tempered with real friends and characters we cared for.
Don't blame the girls. The two leads are well suited for this, but it seems a predictable script filled with cardboard characters lets them down. Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson both have great comedic timing, but Hathaway comes across as more likable by the closing credits. Hudson's materialistic lawyer character is too greedy and self serving to be forgivable, while Hathaway's earnest school teacher seems to have her heart in the right place, at least at the start. The movie requires both brides to pull nasty tricks, and even engage in a dance-off before the climactic cat fight. The biggest problem is that by the time these two walk down the aisle we hardly care, and they both come off as people who have no idea about what is truly important in life. Who would want to marry either one?
DVD Verdict was sent a "screener" which was not final product, so it's tough to judge how everything will turn out with this one. Extras are limited to a trio of deleted scenes and a featurette on dresses. The three sequences cut include a different, more logical beginning, and two vignettes that establish a cruel prank omitted from the final film. The short look at the perfect wedding dress feels like a commercial for Vera Wang, and it describes why the designer is such a hit with brides. The transfer should be okay and the sound will be fine too. The movie is bright and neither the picture nor the soundscape are all that complex.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
I could see Bride Wars playing well on a plane or any time you would like a film simply to kill time. It does have a handful of funny moments, although most were seen in the trailers and television commercials. Still, it's nice to see Hudson and Hathaway together in a somewhat gentle comedy that avoids bathroom humor or nudity. It's predictable fluff, but sometimes that's enough. If you are a fan of extravagant weddings, the two featured here would run in the millions. Bride Wars just may be considered soft core porn for Vera Wang fans and florists.
Bride Wars brings together the dream team of Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, but unfortunately puts them in a forgettable film that doesn't deliver what these two promise. They deserve more than this, but if you're pining to see some Vera Wang then maybe this one's worth a rental. The film never gets funny or dark enough to leave a huge impression, but at least it has the good sense to show us how fabulous a June wedding at the Plaza could be. Just pray your best friend doesn't ruin it.
Guilty of borrowing all of its elements, and leaving the rest of us blue.
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