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January 14, 2009 > Movie Review: Bride Wars

Movie Review: Bride Wars

By Heidi Leung

Bordering on disappointing, "Bride Wars" is the most stereotypical bride vs. bride chick-flick ever made. It's not a movie one should recommend to anyone with ten dollars to spend. Technically, it has what would normally be a winning formula: Vera Wang, weddings, Manhattan, the Plaza, decent wardrobe choices, Anne Hathaway, and Kate Hudson. Still, it doesn't fit together quite right.

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) are childhood friends who share an obsession with June weddings at the Plaza. Staging their fantasy weddings in Emma's attic, the two girls were inseparable. Fast-forward into the present day; Emma and Liv have finally found their grooms and gleefully begin arrangements with wedding planner extraordinaire Marion St. Claire (Candace Bergen). Unfortunately, Marion's secretary accidentally books both weddings on the same day, thwarting their plans to be each other's maid of honor and sparking a huge wedding war.

For those who have seen the trailer for "Bride Wars," let it be known that everything they do to anger each another or make you laugh has already been revealed. The only remaining reason to see the entire film is to find out if their friendship survives and whether they actually end up getting married after their fiancˇs witness their monstrous transformation as the "special day" draws closer. The film appears to approach its subject with awkwardness which is surprising considering that two of the three writers are women.

Emotional transitions are abrupt and disruptive at times - in particular when Liv decides to announce her engagement. She brags at one moment then randomly storms outside and sulks about her parent's death. Emma, the sweet and dependable best friend, consoles her and cheers her up as always. The audience is introduced at this point to another flaw in the writing. From the beginning it is obvious that the friendship is extremely one-sided - Emma as the pushover and Liv bossy, dramatic, and domineering. It's hard to see how or why these two could remain friends for so long.

Although Bride Wars is a fictional film meant for mindless enjoyment it doesn't need to be so extreme. The two women could not be more different and the unfairness of their situations felt bothersome. Emma's life as a elementary schoolteacher is frugal and consists of a boring boyfriend who gives no moral support. She has saved since age 16 for her dream wedding, Liv's life is completely different. A successful lawyer with a supportive hedge fund manager boyfriend, she is an overbearing woman who has not struggled with anything except perhaps her binge eating habits.

To be fair, both actresses did a decent job in their respective roles but Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson fail in this pairing. It's not that they don't have chemistry but their vastly different physical features create a visual war. The actors chosen to play their boyfriends were well cast but for the most part, pretty insignificant. Candace Bergen's acting is good as usual but she was also absent for most of the film.

Costume and set design were pretty standard, disappointing for a film geared toward women especially because the best part of the wedding is the wedding dress. The audience was denied the pleasure of seeing more dress options. Perhaps the Sex and the City movie has raised the bar too high with Carrie Bradshaw's gratuitous barrage of the best wedding dress compilation ever but it doesn't mean film makers should just give up and admit defeat with a single dress. In the end, all there is to say about "Bride Wars" is that it could have been so much better.

Rated: PG
Runtime: 90 minutes

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