Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bride Wars ~ Film Review

Director: Gary Winick
Screenwriters: Greg DePaul, Casey Wilson, June Diane Raphael
Production Company: Firm Films, New Regency Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Sunrise Entertainment (II)
Studio: Fox 2000 Pictures (USA)
Starring: Ann Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Bryan Greenberg, Steve Howey, Chris Pratt, Kristen Johnston, Candice Bergen, Kelly Coffield

Warning: In my movie reviews I discuss plot pretty openly here, so be warned if you haven’t seen the film yet.

Emma (played by Anne Hathaway) and Liv (played by Kate Hudson) have been best friends since they were children, but that friendship is sorely tested when they both wind up with the same and only wedding date available at their dream ceremony location: New York City's Plaza Hotel. Neither will back down and give the other their special day all to themselves. May the best Bridezilla win.

Most of the laughs of this film are about how each gal tries to sabotage the other gal’s wedding. The film’s underlying message is that you are very lucky indeed if you happen to have a friend to count on, who knows you best, better than even the person you pledge your life to, and this comes across nicely. That’s what I took from it. And I think the message is a smart choice and it elevates this romantic comedy just a bit above the others out there, for that reason.

Yes there is a bit of the ‘do they love each other’, ‘are they right for each other’ bits between Liv and Emma and their men, but the screenwriter picks the Emma/Liv friendship as the main focus here and sticks with it. That’s refreshing in a Rom-Com, and that makes this film a winner for me.

You have to like both of these girls in order to root for the schemes they pull on each other and why they're doing it or none of this part of the plot works. Thankfully, both despite their quirks and their competitiveness are likeable due to nice attention paid to each character’s development. Well done performances by Hathaway and Hudson too (who also produces on this project).The critics and the marketing folks behind this film liken Liv and Emma to Bridezillas, but if you’ve ever seen that Oxygen network show Emma and Liv have nothing on the attitudes of those women. Thank you screenwriters.

Also fun is Emma’s lazy and manipulative school teacher colleague “Deb” played by the always funny Kristen Johnston, (“3rd Rock from the Sun”; “Music and Lyrics”). Here is an actress I would like to see step into her own romantic comedy as a ‘lead.’ She’s already a scene stealer as a supporting actress in Rom-Coms. I’d like to see what she could do in a story of her own.

I was also interested in Emma’s friendship with Liv’s brother Nate (played by Bryan Greenberg), which we get all of two scenes with. We do get an answer to that chemistry between them, but I would have liked even more to have seen that story unfold. But that’s another movie.

Also, an easy fix for the ‘same day’ dilemma Liv and Emma faced, I felt could have been solved with an a.m. and p.m. wedding. But that’s me, trying to apply that real life logic.
And yes, I was looking for soup to critique about in this movie, but apparently women only eat salads, and drink in Rom-coms.

Still, a good film. If you didn’t catch it in theaters, it’s out on DVD in April. Check it out.

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