Starring: Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Bryan Greenberg, Chris
Pratt, Steve Howey, Candice Bergen. Rated PG.
It is a matter of unfortunate timing that Anne Hathaway’s
latest trip to the chapel follows so closely on the heels of her
Oscar-nominated turn in Rachel Getting Married. In that film, she plays a cynical, self-loathing addict released from
rehab to attend her sister’s wedding, jolting her not-quite-functional family
into a state of uneasy self-awareness with her caustic outpourings. It’s a
devastating presentation of a damaged, damaging soul, and a far cry from
Hathaway’s earlier work in saccharine fantasies like The Princess
If anything positive can be said for Bride Wars, which finds her
wading through a cesspool of
infantile banality and sitcom clichés, it is that Hathaway is the movie’s
greatest and only asset. She dominates the screen with ease, exuding just the
sort of irrepressible energy and charm that Greg DePaul’s script so sorely
lacks. But in choosing such pedestrian material, she has done a disservice to
her audience and to herself. It is widely assumed that Eddie Murphy hurt his
Oscar chances by following his dramatic turn in Dreamgirls with the graceless
Norbit. Bride Wars is just as abysmal, though it spares us the prosthetic fat suits.
Instead, Gary Winick’s tone-deaf farce pits Hathaway against
Kate Hudson (who seems appropriately uninterested) as lifelong best friends
whose weddings fall on the same day. Neither cares to reschedule, and what
begins as a clumsy clerical error quickly escalates into a fierce exchange of
predictable pranks and mean-spirited betrayals.
What’s love got to do with it? Nothing, really. Bride
Wars keeps its boys on the sidelines, where
they are left to shake their heads as the women in their lives embrace their
inner she-devils. (Weddings, it seems, are concessions to the fairer sex, with
men on hand as glorified window dressing.) Hathaway and Hudson share the less
enviable task of trying to pass off the movie’s creative desperation as
Had the filmmakers truly committed themselves to the
anarchic spirit of their premise, Bride Wars might have worked as dark comedy, skewering obsessive brides-to-be
with the same razor-sharp blade Danny DeVito took to disgruntled married
couples in his War of the Roses.
But this is anemic stuff, resolved in a flash of sentimentality too flagrantly
artificial for even the most sanguine romantic.