Sloppy writing and lazy direction are the hallmarks of BRIDE WARS, a stale story badly told. And that’s a shame because there is much to lampoon about the current state of the wedding business, where the complicated planning and execution can rival that of the Normandy Invasion during World War II. Perhaps it’s no accident that the pivotal date in this tale of rival brides vying for the only open day for a wedding at the Plaza Hotel in New York is June 6. That would also perhaps be giving too much credit to a script that fails to go boldly into farce and slapstick, and also fails to gain any emotional traction.
The brides are former best friends of 20 years standing Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway), who grew up dreaming of a June wedding at that famous hotel, but when the time came, with only three months to do the planning, and an administrative flub, instead of serving as maid of honor at each others nuptials, they are planning rival ceremonies. Thanks to the voice-over narration by their wedding planner (Candice Bergen), we learn that despite a fine relationship, Liv and her fiancé are perhaps not meant for each other. We also learn that using voice-over narration to help the audience over the holes in the writing only serves to point them up, not smooth them over. We also learn from her that until a woman is married, she is dead. At least that line comes early enough in the film to save the audience the trouble of expecting anything worth paying attention to from there on out.
Instead of a double wedding, the gals book the same date, and the same time, and rooms across the hall from each other, and then set about sabotaging each other’s wedding. Naturally, it’s about the dress and the flowers and the cake, not about the life together afterwards with the spouse. Naturally, the script makes the respective intendeds as interesting lint. Naturally, Liv, the hard-driving litigation lawyer with a brilliant future collapses over the strain of it all and on the morning of a crucial meeting with a client. Naturally Emma’s new aggressiveness fails to find favor with her beau, the one who has been with her for 10 years. This is contrivance at its very worst such that not even Hathaway and Hudson, both game and graceful players of comedy fail to make much headway with it. Why would a bride chow down on cookies and international butter a month before pouring herself into a designer gown? Why would the other bride-to-be crash the other’s bachelorette party just to have a dance-off involving male strippers and a rope? There are no answers, only more dismal attempts at comedy and the clunky dynamics of female unbonding
The so-called hi-jinks call to mind the lesser comedies of television’s Golden Age, the ones that aren’t included in documentaries or scholarly studies of same. These are stereotypical females playing a zero-sum game for the most meaningless of stakes. It’s as though these educated, successful women with rewarding careers actually believe not only that they are dead until they take their vows, but also that the marriage resulting from same won’t count unless it’s at the Plaza, in June, and over each other’s dead body.
BRIDE WARS isn’t just a bad movie, it’s one that is patently offensive on so many levels that spending time dwelling on each of its sins would only compound the indignity of it all.