Sunday, January 18, 2009

Review: "Bride Wars"

Catching up with a flick that came out a couple of Fridays ago. I had a chance to see it early and post a review on opening day, but that was in the middle of my gout bout.

"Bride Wars" is the sort of movie that seeing the preview pretty much gives you a two-minute version of the whole movie. Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson play friends since childhood who have always dreamed of getting married in June at the Plaza Hotel in New York. Lo and behold, they both get engaged at the same time, but a screw-up by the world's most powerful wedding planner (Candice Bergen, who seems consigned to these sorts of brittle old battle axe roles now) leads to them being booked on the same day. Neither will budge their dream wedding date, so it's all-out war where these BFFs turn into bridezillas from hell.

If you've seen the preview, then you already know the terrible tortures they inflict on each other in order to convince the other to blink. Rich treats are sent to one's office to make her pork up so much she can't fit into her Vera Wang dress. A sabotaged tanning booth turns Hathaway into a carrot-colored disaster. Hudson's hair gets turned blue. And so on.

Of course, in the process both terribly miss their close friend, even as they resort to the nastiest of tactics, and re-examine their relationships with their grooms-to-be -- remember them? The movie barely does.

As someone who recently went through this process himself, I have many thoughts on over-indulgent weddings. The first is that anyone who would spend six figures on a wedding has entirely too much money, and needs to be smacked. The second is that while it's OK for a woman to dream about her wedding day, obsessively planning it for years is psychotic. Anybody who would run into their beloved's office and loudly demand to be married, as Hudson character's does, deserves to be alone forever.

Finally, the obvious solution of a double wedding is presented and then pitched overboard without any reasonable justification -- other than the filmmakers' need for this bride war to happen, logic be damned.

Whenever people ask me how a male critic can review a chick flick, I respond that I have no objection to good chick flicks. "Bride Wars" is not one of them.

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