Silly slapstick meets sloppy and shrill comedy.
What you see is all you get from this less-than-skin-deep insult to modern femaledom. Indeed, “Bride Wars” is the first chick flick that immediately and totally rules out even the tiniest male interest and spreads its premise so thin, with such empty characters, that the entire screen space and vibration is left to squeals of “Oh, my God!” (several dozen of those).
Actually, it is possible to sense, in various spots, an opening to the deeper worlds of the two protagonists. But it’s not to be. Skimming the surface is the film’s dedicated motif and dimension has been ruled out.
And hasn’t life been a fun fantasy for best pals Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) who have planned for their weddings since they were little girls. Over time, they’ve laid out every wonderful detail. Certainly at the top of the absolutely essential list, the unchangeable item, is the place: New York’s exquisite Hotel Plaza (never mind that such an affair, fully outfitted, could only be handled by a multi-millionaire, surely not by a lawyer or a schoolteacher, as here).
Here they are, air-headed at 26 with empty spaces for fiances, and, wow, the ladies are both getting wed. Their dreams will be answered.
But . . . uh, oh . . . the wedding planner (Candice Bergen) advises that The Plaza has only one wedding date available for years to come. And both their wedding dates are scheduled for the same day. Like wow! Will this ever be a test of friendship. Possibility of a double wedding? Forget it. Neither will have it.
Now here’s Liv, a successful lawyer, who dominates conflicts in her life and makes sure everything always goes her way. She will settle only for the perfect wedding. But what about schoolteacher Emma, who’s spent her whole life guiding and compromise. This is going to call forth her deepest inner power. The classic irresistible force will now meet the immovable object. Before, there was nothing they wouldn’t do for each other. Now . . . this’ll be no-holds-barred in an all-out war of bitter strategies.
The ladies go on fierce drives for sabotage, like when Emma crashes Liv’s bachelorette party and gets crowned sexiest bride, or when Emma injects orange spray into Liv’s tanning session. Or how about Emma getting into Liv’s hair dye to change her honeyed locks to streaky blue and white. Cute.
But how about a good cat fight in the aisle? Got that.
Candice Bergen, doing the voice-over, does have a number of droll one-liners for some real laughs and, as broad wedding satire, the substance is there. But the film rejects all its solid comic possibilities in favor of girl trivia. Hey, that can work for me, but not when that’s all there is.
“Bride Wars” (quality rating: 3 out of 10)
Director: Gary Winnick
Screenplay: Greg DePaul, Casey Wilson
Cast: Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Candice Bergen.
Time: 1 hr., 30 min.
Rating: PG (some sex references, vulgarity)
Marty Meltz. http://www.martymoviereviews.com 30-year former films critic for the Portland (Maine) Sunday Telegram. Offering right-to-the-point reviews that address directly the question of the film’s entertainment value to you. Films have personalities. It doesn’t matter who wrote it, who directs it, who stars in it, if it doesn’t reach out to you with charisma. I examine its honesty and intelligence. Are you being respected, or are you being jerked around?