The most lamentable thing about the dismal Bride Wars is the total absence of fatalities—as well as the fact that, by enduring the titular catty conflicts, it’s the moviegoer who suffers most. To fully recount the buildup to these titanic matrimonial skirmishes would take far more energy than this battle-depleted critic can presently muster. But suffice to say they’re initiated by a ludicrous scheduling snafu by Manhattan wedding planner “virtuoso” Marion St. Claire (Candice Bergen), who accidentally books the long-sought weddings of best friends Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) at their preferred dream destination, New York City’s Plaza Hotel, on the very same June day. Oh, what misery such a mistake wreaks! With neither woman willing to budge from their chosen ritzy metropolitan locale, the only course of action left to them is sabotage of a most insufferable sort: sweets to make former heifer Liv gain weight and, by extension, not fit into her Vera Wang dress; spray-tan mischief to turn Emma’s pale skin a deep shade of orange; blue hair dye to spoil Liv’s bangs-alicious blond coiffure; and an outrageous replacement dance instructor to tire Emma out during waltz rehearsals. To brand such cartoon nastiness unfunny would be a grave understatement, though just as dispiriting are screensaver-ish montages that cloyingly fawn over nuptial particulars (invitations, dresses, cake figurines) and a guiding desire to sentimentalize the majestic resiliency of female friendship. Mercifully, both Hathaway and Hudson have charm to burn and, in the case of the former, a tendency to cannily sneak flickers of real emotion into the otherwise broad proceedings at hand. Yet constrained by an inane, banal script and Gary Winick’s drably functional direction, the two prove powerless to elevate the lamebrained Bride Wars and its easy-way-out dramatic resolutions and heaps of schmaltz. More discouraging still, survivors of this dreary campaign will come to learn that, as one clash ends, another begins. Bring on—or, rather, don’t—Baby Wars!
- 20th Century Fox
- 90 min
- Gary Winick
- Greg DePaul, Casey Wilson, June Diane Raphael
- Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Bryan Greenberg, Chris Pratt, Steve Howey, Kristen Johnston, Candice Bergen
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