January 15, 2009

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Bride Wars (PG)
Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson work together to set feminism back a few decades with the screechy and painful Bride Wars.

Liv (Hudson) and Emma (Hathaway) are the bestest of friends and have been the bestest of friends since forever. They share clothes, they work out together and they share a hunger for a magazine-perfect wedding in June at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Luckily, when they both get engaged at almost exactly the same time, there are two June dates available at the Plaza, so each woman can have the wedding of her high-pitched-squeal-inducing dreams.

Actually, as they later find out, due to a clerical mishap, they can each have the wedding of their dreams but only on the exact same day. Which means that these we’re-like-sisters can either miss each other’s wedding (and, divorce-style, split up their list of friends) or one of the brides will have to move her wedding to another day and location. But which one?

Hence the “wars” in Bride Wars.

The grooms, I should point out, are almost interchangeable and are basically irrelevant to the story, which is a series of one-up-ing pranks leading to the bride-on-bride brawl you see in the trailer. There’s a lot of frustrated “UGH, I can’t believe (fill in the blank) did that!” and a lot of “eeek, my (something newly destroyed)!” but not a lot else. While these characters are set up as thoroughly modern young professional go-getters, everything about their actions here is the kind of childish, insecure “girl on girl violence” as Tina Fey called it in Mean Girls that just makes women look silly. There are hints, here and there, about how the process of preparing for a wedding can sometimes illuminate the reasons you shouldn’t marry the person you’re picking out napkins and sending out invitations with. But it isn’t really developed — the conflict within one of the two couples exists solely to move along the action after the climax. With all the dress-shopping and best-friend-sabotaging, nobody really thinks about the marriage part of getting married at all. I know, it’s not nearly as much fun as the wedding but it could have added something smart and unique to the warring brides concept.

Unfortunately, there is nothing smart or unique or funny about Bride Wars (the sole funny line has to do with one groom’s delivery of a line about “butters from different lands”). It is one of those movies that give away nearly every plot twist and joke in the trailer, using the same unoriginal songs (I think I’ve developed a mild skin allergy to “This Will Be An Everlasting Love”). So, if you’ve seen that, consider yourself saved from the need to spend $8. C-

Rated PG for suggestive content, language and some rude behavior. Directed by Gary Winick and written by Greg DePaul, Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael, Bride Wars is an hour and 30 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by 20th Century Fox.