Screenwriters: Greg DePaul, Casey Wilson
Starring: Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Candice Bergen
Running Time: 89 mins
Bride Wars is a comedy that's light on major laughs and disposable in nature, but never less than watchable thanks to the captivating performances of Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway. Their feisty performances elevate a very formulaic plot and turn the film into a breezy 90 minutes.
Hudson injects a merciless but appealing attitude into the role of Liz, a powerful lawyer who practically bullies her boyfriend into a proposal. Her best friend Emma, played by the marvellous Hathaway, is the polar opposite - a sweet and submissive teacher regularly trampled on by those around her and freshly engaged to her own bloke. As children, the pair dreamt of the most beautiful wedding possible. As adults, they head to the finest wedding planner but only one ideal date in June is available - and neither wants a double wedding or to wait for a later time. Friends turn enemies and it soon starts getting very messy indeed.
The dirty tricks campaign waged by the ladies against each other is consistently enjoyable and helps to salvage the plot from total predictability. It's fun to watch the name-calling swiftly escalate into full-blooded war, with the physical repercussions on each wannabe bride - resulting from sly acts like doctoring fake tan machines and hair dye - providing a good degree of visual humour to match the verbal jousting.
Slick direction from Gary Winick ensures that the gags are delivered in a spot-on manner and never milked, which is often the pitfall of many similarly high concept comedies these days. In addition, we should be thankful that there is none of the inane slapstick material that also plagues other examples of the genre, often littered with characters walking into doors or falling into holes with no purpose other than to try (and mostly fail) to generate a cheap laugh.
Hathaway and Hudson effortlessly carry the entire movie on their shoulders, with a distinct lack of remotely engaging support characters around them despite the efforts of Candice Bergen as the stern wedding planner. The changes in the nature of their characters could easily have felt cynically contrived and unbelievable if portrayed by lesser talents, but this is not the case here.
Surprisingly enjoyable, Bride Wars is an unremarkable comedy that manages to provide a fast-paced burst of escapist fun mainly through the efforts of the two leads, both of whom are naturals at comedy.
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