“Bride Wars” teaches every feminist’s worst nightmare: that a woman’s lifelong dream is to find a man to marry her, and have a ridiculously extravagant June wedding at the Plaza Hotel in NYC.
With on-again, off-again narration by Candice Bergen –‚ who plays elite and highly sought-after wedding planner Marion St. Claire — the movie lacks real direction and any measurable value. As for the laughs, they just keep on coming. Especially the cheap laughs at each of the main character’s expense. I could barely focus on the movie though with the audience members behind me debating such major topics as “I don’t need a ring pillow if I don’t have a ring bearer do I?” and other ponderings on what earrings she was thinking about wearing to match her wedding gown.
Written by: Greg DePaul (screenplay) and Casey Wilson (screenplay)
Starring: Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway
Seen at: Regal Fenway
Running time: 90 mins
The movie revolves around best friends Emma, played by Anne Hathaway, and Liv, played by Kate Hudson, who have known each other for decades and grew up together through childhood tragedy, college, jobs and boyfriends. Liv is the type-a, aggressive and outspoken spunky friend who isn’t afraid to give her piece of mind. Emma is a hardcore lawyer who excels at the art of persuasion and jumps the gun for everything, including getting married when she finds a Tiffany box hidden in the closet she shares with live-in boyfriend Daniel, played by Steve Howey (Van Montgomery of “Reba”).
Meanwhile, Emma has her own sweeter-than-molasses proposal awaiting her on what she believes to be just another night with her roommate/boyfriend Fletcher (Chris Pratt). The girls both become engaged and both set out to meet with Marion to embark on the journey that is their life, or rather their respective wedding days. Marion’s most ridiculous mantra is that “Until your wedding day, you are dead. You are dead right now.” Yes, it can be said that a wedding is the first day of the rest of your life, but to practically give up a party based around the implementation of the institution of marriage the importance of a deity is just plain ridiculous.
Back to the “riveting” story by screenplay writers Greg DePaul and Casey Wilson, who managed to work in many, many laughs and some well placed physical comedy. The meek and quiet receptionist at Marion’s Upper East Side townhouse accidentally mixes up the dates of the Plaza dream weddings of Liv and Emma and while they both attempt to try to acquiesce, without ever actually doing so, things turn ugly. Of course, the logical answer to the dilemma is provided by the grooms-to-be who suggest a double wedding for the inseparable pals who are supposed to be each others’ maids of honors. Which is another slap in the face insinuating that women are irrational and only lead with their emotions.
Sabotage ensues when neither bride will give up her date at the plaza. Good-natured and down-to-earth Emma and wily Liv do everything from mess with the others’ hair, skin tone, weight, bachelorette parties and the actual weddings themselves. What really happens is that it just turns sad as two friends are torn apart by the petty, consumerist and shallow musings involved with a wedding.
Definite surprise is Kristen Johnston’s oblivious and perfect performance as Deb, another teacher at Emma’s school. As Emma’s maid of honor replacement, Deb continues to walk all over Emma’s backseat personality and verbally bully her into doing favors such as taking over her study halls and late bus duty.
With funny moments and montages and a few borderline disturbing dance numbers from Hathaway, the movie succeeds at what it aims to do — be a simple, funny and light movie aimed for the millions of girls who dream of not being a successful judge or to change foreign policy or to write the next great novel, but to have a wedding. And not to be married, but to just have the party portion of that.
The movie is a vivid and overdone comment on the demeaning reputation 21st century society has given to marriage by placing an incredible amount of emphasis on the perfection of the wedding, rather than building a life with a compatible partner. It’s no wonder something like 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. In the movie, the male counterparts of the brides play such an insignificant role it’s easy to see how the weddings can get bigger than the relationships they were based around.
Hopefully, audiences will look past the torture and humiliation turned into humor and realize that the movie is trying to say that the most important thing in life, before the Park Plaza Hotel and dance lessons and tanning and Vera Wang (although can she make a dress!) is to surround yourself with positive, loyal people. In the competitive and cutthroat environment of the world today, it is hard to find and maintain close friends and faithful lovers. But the true challenge is maintaining those relationships and keeping your eye on the prize, rather than on the altar.
Despite all of the disappointing anti-feminist ideals pushed in “Bride Wars,” it entertained the silly girl in me who loves shoes and the color purple and beautiful fresh flowers. But it also raised a lot of questions and concerns on how future generations are going to survive when they are being bombarded by frivolity from television, movies and books (do not get me started on the “Twilight” series).
So go out there and get your fill of the first 2009 wedding movie, to go down in history along with other wedding-centric films as “The Wedding Planner,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” and “27 Dresses.”