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Home Blog Popcorn Parent Movie Reviews Movie Tuesday: Bride Wars (PG)

Movie Tuesday: Bride Wars (PG)

Not exactly nuptial bliss
Performances almost save fluffy tulle of a movie
By Kristen Page-Kirby

Rated PG

You know how some trailers make a movie look awesome and they’re just big fat lies? Well, “Bride Wars” falls victim to the opposite problem: The trailers make it look immensely stupid and borderline (or outright) offensive, when in fact the movie they advertise is, well, only kind of stupid and offensive in the sense that all the jokes have been made so often they don’t even deserve a raised eyebrow—just an eyeroll.

Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Liv (Kate Hudson) are childhood BFFs, now trying to make it in the big city. A major bonding agent in their house of friendship is their love of weddings, particularly the dream of being married at New York’s Plaza hotel in June. When both girls get engaged, both girls (oh happy day!) book weddings weeks apart. But—ruh-roh—due to a scheduling snafu, both ceremonies end up on the same day. And you’ve seen the trailers, so you know that war breaks out (ironic that the disputed day is June 6—D-Day.) Since the combatants are girls, the battles are mostly based around weight, skin and hair. Which you’ve seen in the trailers, so there’s no need for me to waste space telling you about them.

Beyond the whole stupid “every girl DREAMS of her wedding day” thing, the movie actually might have something interesting to say about the friendships of women—it just doesn’t say it particularly well. What Emma’s and Liv’s weddings do is bring to the forefront issues that have  been bubbling in their friendship for some time. Emma is a public schoolteacher, while Liv is a hotshot corporate lawyer—the disparity in their incomes creates some real tension. Plus, Liv feels judged for not having Emma’s altruistic career. Really, what’s at play is that the women have been attempting to have the same friendship that they’ve always had, rather than allowing it to grow up along with them. And the weddings—as major events tend to do—show the flaws in their foundations.

But this substantial issue is, like most weddings, buried in a whole mess of unnecessary and poorly-executed malarkey (and I say that as someone who had a pretty big wedding.) The grooms are essentially nonexistent, the excellent Kristen Johnson is given an unredeemable character to try and make funny (she fails), Candace Bergen’s wedding planner role essentially exists to make the scheduling mistake and provide redundant voiceovers. There’s a tendency to rely on photo montages to convey information like, “girls look at flowers” and “couples buy rings,” and I’m pretty sure we could have figured out that flowers were looked upon and rights were bought. And when one of the girls doesn’t make it to the altar, the dissolution of the relationship is both hammily telegraphed and completely out of the blue.

Both Hathaway and Hudson give performances that add more depth to the characters and their situations that the script might warrant; both characters are both likeable and flawed. And, refreshingly, while both women are slim, they’re almost noticeably not the scary-skinny skeletons that dominate cinema today.

Not much here to give parents concern. “Ass” makes an appearance, and Emma says “mother-eff.” That’s not to say she says what “mother-eff” represents; that’s what she literally says—same with “G.D.” The b-word crops up two or three times. There’s an allusion to inflatable dolls and some sexy bachelorette-party dancing, but everyone (men and women) stays clothed. Both girls live with their boyfriends before marriage.

In the end, “Bride Wars” is the same as going to a co-worker’s wedding. You smile, you get something to eat, maybe you giggle a little—but you keep one eye on your watch and the other on the door.

At a Jan. 9 showing, the previews were: “Confessions of a Shopaholic”, DreamWorks’ “Monsters vs. Aliens” (which shows a garter belt, a reference to “boobies” and a poop joke), “Duplicity” (in which a thong makes a brief [ha!] appearance) and “Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian,” which puts a giant T-Rex skeleton in the Museum of Natural History when everyone knows that’s really where the elephant goes.

 

Kristen Page-Kirby is the editor of Chesapeake Family. When planning her own wedding, she broke down in tears when she ran out of the yellow ribbon she used to tie around the invitations.

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