Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Bride Wars

Bride Wars
Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Bryan Greenberg, Chris Pratt, Steve Howey, Candice Bergen

Rated: PG suggestive content, language and some rude behavior
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: January 9, 2009 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox

Despite the attractiveness of its lead actresses, Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, Bride Wars is hardly something to brighten their resumes.

Gary Winick's catty romantic comedy is supposed to be appealing like what he did with Jennifer Garner in 13 Going On 30 (the female version of Big). But, instead of being a fun lampoon of an institution that Hudson and Hathaway currently don't inhabit, it's screechy, skirmishy, and heavily topped with sentiment at the end. It may be a guilty pleasure for those really desperate for a date movie that is dead on arrival.

Hathaway and Hudson seems to like playing slightly against type, the former as a low-key schoolteacher, Emma, and the latter as a leading attorney, Liv. The inseparable BFFs have envisioned their weddings since childhood as Jersey girls.

The shaky premise devised by the scripters (two-thirds of which are female is hard to believe) has Liv and Emma booking their weddings on the same date at the snazzy Plaza Hotel in the Big Apple not long after getting engaged around the same time. Apparently, the high-profile wedding planner (Candice Bergen of Sex and the City) didn't see this conflict coming so a series of plots and counterplots by Liv and Emma are on the way because each prospective maid-of-honor won't give up their lavishly special day.

From the advertising of Bride Wars, the amusement is packed with make-overs and rumors, and a sweet surprise for Liv that features a rare instance of humorous dialogue, before the physical doings at the altar. Otherwise, it's a tepid version of something more reasonable and well thought out like The War of the Roses, or more recently, Mean Girls. Since the storyline is so captivated by this problem and needs to find resolution through stereotypes and cliches, the inconsistencies and shifting make it more hypocritical and hard to care how much the friendship of these giddy gals really matters, beyond their own desire to be happy. Similar to the state of another failed marriage movie, Made of Honor.

The timing is bad for Hathaway with the awards season in full bloom after shining as the rebellious, rehabbing Kym in Rachel Getting Married. Hudson, however, is just on a bad streak after Fool's Gold and My Best Friend's Girl.

Some may have a chuckle briefly, like when Emma participates in a dance-off, but there's no scene-stealer in this awkwardly rendered comedic bouquet, as Kristen Johnston doesn't do much as Emma's scheming colleague and substitute maid-of-honor, besides Michael Arden as Liv's faithful gay assistant, and Bryan Greenberg as Liv's handsome brother, who turns up near the end. It's a war where no one, especially the audience, wins.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Bride Wars  B-      D         D         C- 

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