An inspirational story or biopic nearly always guarantees a dramatic night’s worth of entertainment. But sometimes (o.k., so most of the time) I just want to see something that is funny without making me “think,” which is why when first reading about this comedy, I knew I would have to see it. Plus it stars two of Hollywood’s most popular actresses and incidentally, they are two of my favorite actress’.
(And yes, this does include a few over-the-top wedding shenanigans that may make you cringe – and groan.)
Once upon a time there were two little girls who dreamed of their weddings ever since experiencing one at the Plaza Hotel in the month of June. It was in that moment that both girls knew was exactly what they wanted for their own someday happy-ever-after. Now, some 15 years later, Liv (Kate Hudson), has become a lawyer with a domineering personality that gets her anything she wants. Then there is Emma (Anne Hathaway), a teacher who is about as meek as Liv is bossy; kind to a fault, Emma cannot say “no” to anyone. Both in successful relationships, the girls are readying for a night out when Liv finds a Tiffany box hidden in the closet. Naturally she assumes a proposal is imminent, only it’s Emma that winds up with a ring on her finger first. Emma has been his best friend for ten years, now Fletcher (Chris Pratt) finally decides to reward his ever-patient girlfriend. Liv is the more aggressive of the two and not being able to stand the mystery she prods a proposal out of the charming, but considerate, Daniel (Steve Howey). Now, both girls are engaged and ready to plan their dream June wedding at the plaza….
What starts out as perfection soon turns into a mess when their respective special days are scheduled on *GASP!* the same date. Neither are willing to compromise, so when Emma misunderstands Liv’s intentions, the gloves come off and tulle will fly: War has been declared!
Once I read a review whose writer mocked this and compared it to 2007’s 27 Dresses. As it would happen, I actually like 27 Dresses and Bride Wars is no different. Believe it or not there are actually those delicious few unexpected twists along that way that, quite frankly you probably would not expect. The only thing I expected for certain was that one of the weddings wouldn’t go off, whether or not that holds up, I won’t say (spoilers and all, you understand *wink*). I can see where this would not be such a hit with some audiences, so let me save you the price of a rental and ninety-nine minutes you’d never get back and just say: If you don’t like sweet, syrupy comedies, then skip this film because that is exactly what this not only projects, but fully “embraces.” Director Gary Winick also directed the “kid” comedy 13 Going on 30 and there are definitely similarities to the two films. Both have a sort of child-like innocence in the beginning before managing to become more “adult” comedies.
Along with a healthy dose of comedy, this film also showcases some more tender heartfelt scenes; particularly the scene between Emma’s father and Liv. And there are, of course, some goofy moments (like Emma crashing Liv’s wedding or the girls chasing a bride around while registering), but nothing so extreme as to make the pranks “over the top.” In the end, the tricks the girls play on each other are more comical than mean-spirited in the sense that they can be “undone.” Still neither girl does anything to physically hurt the other, just mean-spirited acts in messing with the unwritten “code” between girlfriends.
Liv and Emma knew each others strengths and weaknesses, in this “BFF” scenario that was a “dangerous” thing because it turned out to be something they capitalized off in order to pull off some of the shenanigans’ they did. In certain nuances, it reminded me of some of my own childhood memories with my “sis” (minus the backstabbing). Both Hudson and Hathaway played their roles with all the girl-power finesse needed for their respective roles and Candice Bergen as the perfectionist wedding planner was superb. All of the leading men were well cast and deserve credit for a great performance in an all-white-frilly-knock-out-bridal-war. Hudson also played producer for the first time on this film and she did an excellent job of participating behind the camera, helping to bring the story to full potential. Bride Wars has found a spot on my self alongside my other “girly-girl” flick, and if you have liked Winick’s (i.e. Letters to Juliet) other work, you may find this worthwhile. The ending is adorable making this a fun afternoon’s entertainment. Characters have grown at credits rolling, making you feel good about any lessons they needed to embrace; both learn an important one about friendship after their ridiculous and often times’ unrealistic “war.” In Emma’s character, we learn its okay to just be yourself and not someone else’s ideal, and that in itself is a lesson we all need to remember sometimes.
(Rated PG because of a bachelorette party [which is relatively “harmless”] complete with male strippers; Liv and Emma dance suggestively on stage, the girls are drinking throughout. Some language is present [“mother f” is uttered, “a**”]. There are some crude comments like “suck it.” Both couples live together. Conversation revolves around what happened on spring break years ago, which later comes into play with a video. A false pregnancy rumor is spread. My opinion: I’ve a feeling that the worst ended up cut on special features.)