Friday, January 09, 2009

BRIDE WARS - not as bad as the reviewers are making out

BRIDE WARS is clearly a rather shamelessly commercial enterprise aiming solidly at the demographic that falls for schmaltzy formulaic rom-coms like MADE OF HONOUR and P.S.I LOVE YOU. The direction is pedestrian, the writing is mediocre, the clothes are lovely and the ending is entirely predictable. Kate Hudson is about the least convincing lawyer I've seen on screen. Anne Hathaway shows none of the nuance that powered her role in RACHEL GETTING MARRIED. Still, given the shit that has been thrown at the movie, I was pleasantly surprised by how watchable it was. I wouldn't want to watch it again, but it was a perfectly pleasant way to pass ninety minutes.

It may have sub-plots that deal with relationships with men, but the movie is really about female friendship. In its defense, the movie is pretty honest about the lamentable amount of pressure some women put on themselves to have a perfect wedding and the competitiveness and neuroses that underlie some friendships. When the two lead characters, Liv and Emma (Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway) attend a third girlfriend's wedding, as happy as they are for her, they can't resist making digs about the floral arrangements. And when Liv and Emma announce that they are getting married, their other girlfriends hit the ice-cream and anti-depressants, worried that they're falling behind the curve. Finally, when a mix-up by the wedding planner (Candice Bergen) means that Liv and Emma have to get married on the same day at same hotel, neither wants to back down. Each firmly believes that she should have her day in the spotlight.

What then unfolds is a rather unedifying series of sabotage plots until everything goes so far that the two girls realise what we knew all along: it simply isn't worth it.But for all that, Kate Hudson is very watchable as high-achieving, competitive Liv, and her character actually develops as the movie unfolds. I actually rather like Kate Hudson as a light comedic actress. Anne Hathaway is a bit more anonymous as passive-aggressive Emma but Kristen Johnston (3rd ROCK FROM THE SUN) provides some genuine laugh-out-loud moments as Emma's egotistical maid of honour.

BRIDE WARS is on release in the UK, US and Turkey. It opens next week in Australia, Spain and Sweden and on January 22nd in Singapore and Estonia. It opens on January 29th in Hungary; on February 5th in Argentina, Croatia, Germany and Brazil; on February 11th in Belgium, France, Portugal and Norway; on February 20th in Finland and Italy; on February 26th in Russia and the Netherlands and on April 2nd in the Czech Republic.

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