16 May 2009

Movie Review: Bride Wars


Bride Wars
2009, 89mins, PG
Director: Gary Winick
Writer (s): Greg DePaul, Casey Wilson, June Diane Rapheal
Cast includes: Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Bryan Greenberg, Chris Pratt, Steve Howey, Candice Bergen
Release Date: 9th January 2009

Bridal Smackdown or Fight Night Brides might have been more appropriate titles for “Bride Wars” a sloppily named and lazily compiled chick flick, which works its way through a series of utterly predictable comic moments before resting on a disturbingly saccharine and uncreative denouement. At the central of the piece are two talented actresses, both with Oscar nominations to their names, but sadly this is clearly the sort of film that performers of that calibre do because the pay cheque might provide a nice Swimming pool. How anyone involved saw genuine promise or comic mirth in this hasty and unimpressive concept is beyond me, especially people who have worked on....you know good movies.

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) have been best friends for their whole lives, and for the majority of that time together they’ve both dreamt of having a June wedding in the Plaza venue. After having the question popped to both of them around the same time, the duo go together to schedule their desired dates, both getting prime Summer time spots in the process. However things take a turn for the worst when it turns out that both weddings have been accidently booked on the same date, leaving the pair in a small scale crisis. Neither wants to give up their swooning moment of true happiness, and so they begin to play dirty, attempting to foil the other at every opportunity and leave her in a position of unavoidable cancellation. Things start on a minor note but quickly escalate, the brides to be leaving a blaze of destruction and chaos as the pranks get ever grander and more damaging.

“Bride Wars” is an ugly comedy with few laughs or moments of emotional depth, director Gary Winick opting for turgid slapstick and long winded dirty deeds to draw the entertainment value. It’s safe to say that Hudson and Hathaway are watchable in anything and “Bride Wars” is no exception, but leaving the dominating females aside and this is a picture of supreme vacancy. The film never builds a convincing rapport with its characters or a steady stream of quality gags, slowly dying as the short runtime burns down.

The characters in “Bride Wars” are dreadfully written and the central friendship ill conceived, but spirited actresses like Hudson and Hathaway always give it their all, and thus they at least get marks for trying. I doubt either did this junk on an artistic whim but at least they earn their pay cheques, unlike anybody else involved. I dread to think how insufferably lame “Bride Wars” would have been without two performers of such effortless screen presence, neither is having to stretch their chops but with less talented thespians this could have been a truly abhorrent way to spend an hour and a half. The rest of the cast don’t deserve mention, they’re a non event, all plot devices and cardboard cut outs to stack against the insanely dull melodramatics playing out on screen.

Director Winick has struck motion picture success before in the like of “Tadpole” and “13 going on 30”, but “Bride Wars” really is an embarrassing excuse for mainstream entertainment. A laboured farce with nothing of value to say about the relationships of women or a well timed joke to its name, Winick would do well to pretend this never happened. At any rate the new house helming this turd bought him, should cause a pang of guilt every time he looks at it. Its the trio of writers who deserve the biggest damnations however, to think that it took three people to churn out such ordinary rubbish is astounding, and the writing constantly looks like it was polished over by an emotionally unbalanced 14 year old girl. The writers clearly thought they where penning what some like to call “breezy fun”, but this is neither. Even when attempting a light hearted comedy it takes a brain to be entertained, and “Bride Wars” struggles to penetrate the skull.

Things go from bad to worse in what amounts to a sugary and bizarre ending in which Winick and co. wrap up every lose end as speedily and unconvincingly as possible. “Bride Wars” is precisely the sort of film that Holywood releases to make a fast buck, knowing full well that the product will quickly slip into obscurity due to obvious suck factor, and so spends as little time prepping it as possible. Obviously thrown together at the drop of a hat and with little to recommend it to even the cosmopolitan brigade, “Bride Wars” is mediocrity as it’s most sickeningly slovenly and stupid level. One can only hope that a hinted sequel is not to follow.

A review by Daniel Kelly, 2009


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