Movie Review for Bride Wars

War Never Changes

Bride Wars

Comedy, Romance | PG | 1 hr 35 min
20th Century Fox
Bride Wars takes the “women get obsessive about weddings” trope and runs hog wild with it, crafting a contentious tale about two best friends who seem to prize the single celebration more than their own relationship, and drive each other into a messy war of sabotage and hurt feelings, all to reach an ending that audiences will already expect without even having taken a step inside the theater. Bride Wars is a genuine must-miss movie.

When Liv and Emma were kids, they both bore witness to a June wedding at the Plaza, and since then, the two have long held on to the dream of having their own June weddings there. Years later, the two finally get the chance when both of their respective boyfriends suddenly propose. The two set out to be each other’s maid of honor, but their friendship is torn asunder when a clerical error leads to them having booked the Plaza on the same day. With neither one willing to give up the location, the two begin a war of sabotage, trying to ruin each other’s big day.

Right from the outset, Bride Wars has a couple of problems. First of all, setup of the conflict is terribly flawed, because this much sought after wedding planner can’t get her stuff together long enough to figure out that she’s holding all three reservations, and she could’ve resolved the conflict without getting any of the parties involved. And second, given that you might accept this flawed setup, the solution to the problem is so terribly obvious that the film gives it away itself. In a reasonable world, two lifelong best friends would probably reach some sort of intelligent compromise, but because these characters are little more than hysterical female stereotypes, we have to sit through a torrent of ugliness and selfishness. It becomes terribly difficult to root for any of these characters to get their happy ending.

And if the movie was actually brave enough and smart enough to really play up its own cynicism, providing us with a story where people end up getting what they deserve and losing everything they truly hold dear. But no, mainstream filmmaking guidelines make it clear that these girls are to get their happy endings, despite all the horrible things they’ve done. Despite being absolutely horrible for most of its run time, Bride Wars has the audacity to try and sell us some of sentiment in the end. That just doesn’t work.

Despite an auspicious coming out in Almost Famous, Kate Hudson has never turned in another memorable performance. It probably doesn’t help that she only seems to appear in cinematic dreck, but it’s becoming painfully obvious that despite her loveliness, Penny Lane was probably a fluke. She’s pretty game, though, but the talent dichotomy between her and her co-star is painfully obvious. Anne Hathaway does much of the heavy lifting, throwing little subtle touches while Hudson turns to hysterics. The supporting cast is largely non-existent, because in a bit of actual thematic resonance, it’s all about the brides.

Bride Wars can and will probably be dismissed as fluff, and that’s just about right. It is fluff of the highest degree, a prime example of utterly disposable entertainment meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator, ignoring all rational thought in its ugly pursuit of some ungainly, unearned sentiment at the end. It is proof positive that in war, there are no winners. We are all losers in this case.

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