Friday, July 3, 2009

Bride Wars (2009)

Starring Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, et al
Rated PG, 89 minutes

Psst! Don't let the Man Card Society know I'm doing this review.

Liv (Hudson) and Emma (Hathaway) are lifelong friends, who each dream of a June wedding at New York's Plaza Hotel. Emma always bends to the wishes of others. Liv is domineering. When the ladies' perfect wedding plans go awry due to a double booking, their personalities shift as they each try to sabotage the other's special day.

This was enjoyable enough for what it was - a chick comedy. Kate Hudson in particular had some good comedy chops on display. Once you get past the written-in-a-blender introduction of the characters - which is almost necessary here - you get into the comedy meat. "Bride Wars" drew its humor from women at their worst. Perhaps for the fairer sex, the portrayals here were over the top and hilarious. For me, some of the moments were startling reminders of actual women I know. Surprisingly, the men in this movie get to be the rock in their women's lives for most of the duration.

But oy, that ending. If one of the friends had realized the err of her ways - preferably after each wedding went completely haywire in comic fashion - it would have been fine. Instead, one of them dumped her husband and ended up with her friend's brother! I guess you could say it was telegraphed...if you count a few pictures in a still photo montage as telegraphed. Basically, Anne Hathaway's character goes from being a doormat to sometimes assertive, and it ends up driving a wedge between her and her husband to be. I expected the character to find a happy medium between the two attitudes, apologize, and end up a happy bride again. Now it's plausible to think she secretly pined for her friend's brother for years.

A side plot point about Liv's parents felt tacked on to get the audience reaching for its tissues. Like I said, I would've liked the pranks to hit their peak at the weddings, with sabotage around every corner, before the predictable happy ending. Being a dude, I wanted the slapsticky payoff and less emotion. Instead, it got weird.

**¾

"Bride Wars" wasn't uproariously funny, but it wasn't offending me either. Not until that ending. Clearly I wasn't in the key demographic. I hope there isn't a market that considers falling for your friend's brother at said friend's wedding a romantic conclusion.

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