Bride Wars
Isn’t one of us supposed to be wearing a tuxedo? How embarrassing.

Theatrical Release Date: 01/09/2009
Director: Gary Winick
Cast: Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Chris Pratt, Steve Howey, Bryan Greenberg, Candice Bergen, Kristen Johnston

January has arrived and with it, the onslaught of romantic comedies and horror films is beginning to filter into the googleplexes. Casting the first stone is “Bride Wars” starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway as lifelong best friends who begin feuding when their dream weddings happen to fall on the same day at the same location (thereby making the day less special apparently).

I would like to make sure and state for the record that I’m fine with films that aren’t award-seeking dramatic powerhouses or CGI monster spectacles or car chase filled bonanzas. I like a good romantic comedy probably a bit more than the next guy (although this rather loosely fits the bill as a romantic comedy since it’s primarily about the two leads vying for wedding supremacy).

No matter how you categorize it, however, “Bride Wars” just never rose up and did anything for me. The plot is ultra-predictable, which isn’t to be unexpected, but it’s made worse by the over-reaching of the story. It isn’t just about the two friends having a falling out and finding a way to reconcile things – there are also issues with the romantic elements within their impending nuptials that just aren’t necessary in a film where no one is looking for hidden depths.

I will admit that I expected it to be a full-on train wreck and am surprised to find that it’s only a derailment. Still, the comedy rarely evoked more than a slight smile and both Hudson and Hathaway are unable to make the very superficial aspect of their fight make much sense. Of course, I am a guy and the fundamental “gloriousness” of weddings and being a princess is lost on me so take that for what you will.

After seeing the trailer, I had been hoping that the supporting cast might save the day, as is sometimes the case in these fairly innocuous and otherwise forgettable films. Sadly, while I’ve seem them all do much better work elsewhere, the supporting cast really isn’t given anything to do here. The grooms are little more than cardboard cutouts, thanks more to the script than their own doing. Candice Bergen probably did this as an exercise in working while half-asleep since nothing in the film asked her to do more than walk and talk. And while Kristen Johnston’s comedic sensibilities are the only elements that made me laugh, the script and director are yet again to blame and neither punched this aspect up well and left her largely absent from the film.

I’d have to say that my overall reaction to the film is no reaction at all. The entire production is quite bland and unless you’re jumping at the bit to check this one out, you could definitely wait for it to hit the cable channels and avoid the $126 price tag involved in a trip to theaters these days.

If the comedy had been upped a few notches or if the production could have made some sort of connection with me, I could see giving this a boost in the ratings but as it stands, “Bride Wars” is just a 2 out of 5. The film doesn’t make me mad but it also never made me happy and I’d say the best word to describe it is “eh”. Both actresses have done far better work and I implore them to remember the unspoken rule about film choices: When considering your involvement in a production, carefully appraise the quality of the director, script and cast – two out of the three need to work in order to have a chance at making a good film. My count is stuck at one.