By Adam Frazier
Remember that speech Tina Feyâ€™s character, Ms. Norbury, gives toward the conclusion of ”Mean Girls”? â€œI want you to raise your hand if youâ€™ve ever had a girl say something bad about you behind your back.â€
The result: a gymnasium filled with high school girls brought face-to-face with the reality of their girl-on-girl crime. â€œYou all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it O.K. for guys to call you sluts and whores. Who hereâ€™s ever been called a slut?â€
While I have been called a slut on numerous occasions, Iâ€™m not a lady. If I were, however, I might be a slightly sickened with the way my gender is portrayed in a film like ”Bride Wars”.
In this film by director Gary Winick (”13 Going on 30”), Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway play Liv and Emma, best friends turned bitter rivals when their weddings are scheduled on the same day. Within a matter of seconds, these two life-long buddies are reduced to wicked, spiteful wenches committed to ruining each otherâ€™s lives.
I have to wonder what the message behind ”Bride Wars” is â€“ the lesson to be learned. I suppose the filmâ€™s flimsy script is an attempt to resonate thoughts and feelings of sisterhood, the deep companionship shared between women, but in all honesty it seemed like nothing more than a showcase of backstabbing fueled by jealousy.
The boyfriends-cum-fiancÃ©s in this story, Fletcher (Chris Pratt) and Daniel (Steve Howey), are nothing more than chiseled, square-jawed mannequins for Liv and Emma to interact with when they become adversaries. There seems to be little-to-no motivation behind their smiling eyes when they propose to their respective ladies.
I found myself asking, â€œWhy are these guys popping the question?â€ Was there some huge Earth-shattering moment that I missed out on that made these guys realize there was only one woman for them? Further more, I wondered how these guys could put up with their female counterparts, who are as equally one-sided in terms of motivation and personality.
Kate Hudsonâ€™s Liv is your stereotypical Type A personality. Sheâ€™s impatient, highly competitive, hostile and overly aggressive. Basically, sheâ€™s the brazen bitch of the movie. Her best friend Emma, played by Anna Hathaway, makes up for Livâ€™s fierceness by as a completely spineless Type B, a person so patient and soft-spoken she lacks the ability to even speak up for herself.
Again, thereâ€™s no motivation here as to why these two girls so desperately need to get married right here and now. Their weddings got scheduled on the same day â€“ why not wait until next June? In fact, it seems a little out of character for Hathawayâ€™s spineless character to insist on getting married at the same time as Liv.
The film lands a couple laughs and hits its stride when the two wage war on one another with a series of absurd pranks. Liv tampers with Emmaâ€™s spray tan session, resulting in Hathawayâ€™s porcelain complexion tinted in Oompa Loompa orange. To get her back, Emma mixes a special hair dye that leaves Liv screaming, â€œMy hair is blue!â€
These pranks continue to escalate until the two former friends reach their breaking points. How does this epic, colossal film end? It pretty much goes down as you would expect â€“ in typical chick flick format. Thereâ€™s a surprising turn of events that is, in all actuality, completely predictable. Itâ€™s telegraphed from a mile a way, like a Hail Mary pass at the end of a big football game. Just because itâ€™s expected, however, doesnâ€™t mean it isnâ€™t a smart play.
Obviously the makers of this film know their audience and what they want, regardless of if the overall story suffers and lacks any real depth. Maybe Iâ€™m taking this all a bit too seriously. I donâ€™t mean to critique ”Bride Wars” as if it was a Cecil B. DeMille picture and this review was an analytical paper for some pretentious film theory class. The film is not that bad, but itâ€™s not that good either.
What about the acting, you ask? Most of the heavy lifting in ”Bride Wars”, and I use that term sparingly, is left to Anne Hathaway as her character is the more complex of the two. Kate Hudson plays the same silly girl sheâ€™s played in ”Foolâ€™s Gold” and ”How to Lose A Guy in Ten Days”.
Anne Hathaway, who is currently receiving recognition for her amazing performance in Jonathan Demmeâ€™s ”Rachel Getting Married”, seems to actually be taking a step back with ”Bride Wars”. I can only hope she starts making more of the former and less of the latter, because she truly is an amazing actress and Iâ€™m behind her 100%.
You know those â€œmovies for guys who like movies,â€ action flicks that typically involve Chuck Norris or Dolph Lundgren? Well, Bride Wars is kind of like that, but for the ladies. Itâ€™s a cute and cuddly chick flick that exploits every girl’s fairytale dream. The dream of a perfect wedding day.
”Bride Wars” is a fun, light-hearted movie with good intentions. But sometimes it takes more than just good intentions. With its one-dimensional cast of characters and a barebones script, the film teeters the line between being light-hearted, and having no heart at all.
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