I don’t know why you’re reading this review. Either you’re the sort of person who is inclined to see Bride Wars, in which case I don’t imagine much could stop you. Or you’re not, in which case you’re probably more interested in knowing whether or not The Unborn is crappy enough to earn ten bucks and half a flask of Jack. Or perhaps you thought this was something else, and your eye just skipped over the poster there to the right, like it would if you found a Polaroid of your naked aunt in dad’s sock drawer.
Anyway, I saw this thing. I’m going to write a few hundred words about it, and for a minute we can all pretend not to live in a reality where this movie couldn’t be more critically bulletproof if it was sitting behind the Pope shield. If only this was as easy as writing “the dog dies – 4 out of 10” and moving on.
Bride Wars stars Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway as childhood friends who have always dreamed about spending tens of thousands of dollars to get married in June at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. (It’s a nice hotel, OK, sure.) But when their big day approaches, their planner’s secretary ruins everything by booking their ceremonies for the same day. Like jackals fighting for that last scrap of tender zebra taint, they set at each other tooth and nail, trying to sabotage the other’s plans.
And that’s pretty much how it goes. For a hundred minutes you can watch two pretty, privileged girls spit in each others’ face as they squander a lifetime of companionship over one event for which they expect every insipid detail to live up to two decades worth of fantasies. This is more or less how Fanboys should have played out, albeit with a lot more estrogen.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the two become a lot less pretty via their squabble. But to prove that this is the sort of fantasy on which a guy named Aragorn would call bullshit, not only does neither groom strenuously point out what assholes the girls have become, one actually falls more in love with his newly vulnerable fiancée. OK, the other doesn’t make it to the altar, but neither does he do the dumping.
(There’s another silver lining: the film provided a paycheck for Frederick Elmes, the fantastic cinematographer behind Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Night on Earth and Synecdoche, New York. Taking this break to mention good movies is helping me a lot right now.)
Hudson is the intense go-getter, and to her credit she’s actually trying to make this work. I’ve liked Hathaway in the past, but by contrast she appears to be hopeful that she can get by on a hundred big smiles and a bachelorette party dance scene. Her character enlists Kristen Johnston to be maid of honor, and Johnston distinguishes herself, like a gutshot soldier carrying a fallen comrade twenty miles, by delivering a performance far more irritating than all the others.
(If the movie is like breathing diesel fumes at a Mississippi truck stop in July; Johnston is the screaming air brakes applied by the meth-head Sysco delivery guy about to drop off the hamburgers that’ll have you crapping Jell-O pudding for three days.)
Judging by the loud gasp collectively exhaled by the screening audience when Hudson is given an engagement diamond bigger than one of my testicles, this is porn for a very specific girl. If you’re that girl, just go see this thing. I can’t fault the impulse. I’ve got Water Power, you’ve got Bride Wars. If you know this girl, just get out of the way unless you want to be involved in a small scale reenactment of The Who’s 1979 show in Cincinatti. (A moment of silence for the Stampede Eleven, please. )
There might be a slight twinge of disappointment here, because this could have been satire. When, after their climactic catfight at the altar, Hudson and Hathaway fall back into their veils like post-coital newlyweds, director Gary Winick almost makes it happen. But as these two old friends attempt to poison the Big Day, there’s no suggestion that the entire process is as insane as their whacked-out take on it. The script gives a thumbs-up to all the materialistic excess of a parkside Manhattan wedding, and for that alone it’s worth avoiding. Actually, while gas is cheap, we can probably spare a gallon to take care of each existing print. I’d throw a couple bucks towards that effort.