Considering the critical mauling that Bride Wars (2009) received when it was first released, I was expecting to hate it… but in the end, I found myself chuckling quite often, and (almost) getting a bit teary at the end. Of course, there’s no way I could ever totally hate a comedy starring Anne Hathaway (of The Devil Wears Prada fame), because she’s so naturally funny and adorable… just a flash of those doe eyes and that smile melted away any anger that might have been building up in my blood, over some of the stupider gags. Bless her. Co-star Kate Hudson, on the other hand, seemed to be channelling Hannah Montana in both her hairstyle and acting style, so I don’t have many compliments to sling her way.
For those who don’t know, this sorta-rom-com depicts the bitter rivalry that builds between two childhood friends, when a totally implausible snafu results in both their weddings being scheduled for the same venue, on the same day, at the exact same time! Oh no! This “snafu” is probably the weakest part of the entire story, since you’re expected to believe that the most exclusive and sought after wedding planner in the whole of New York would employ a surly, incompetent assistant who not only sneers at potential clients, but also mixes up the dates of their weddings… and apparently never bothers to run anything past her boss, for a final confirmation. You also have to believe that these two friends are both so insanely obsessed with having a June wedding at the Plaza Hotel, they would rather ruin the lives of everyone they know and love, than “blink first” and reschedule. This might be easier to swallow if the escalating acts of sabotage weren’t such an unfunny slog to sit through. Still, the movie redeems itself in my eyes by making the relationships between the brides-to-be and their fiancés relatively complex, and steering their fates in interesting directions. It’s not a great comedy, but it was a pretty painless way to pass a Sunday evening… and it made in excess of eleven hundred million dollars at the box office (against a budget of thirty million), despite scoring a paltry 24% approval rating at MetaCritic, so clearly there’s no point sniping now!
Oh, and there were some fun supporting players, such as Kristen Johnston, who appears as an overbearing colleague of Hathaway’s character. Again she’s playing quite an obnoxious doofus, which is a shame considering what an awesome Amazon she made back in the day… but she does get to redeem herself a little at the end of the movie, so that’s something. The present-day section of the movie opens with the wedding of a mutual friend, played by June Diane Raphael, who also co-wrote the screenplay… which might explain why she gets so many killer lines throughout the movie, and steals so many scenes. Sneaky! I was already a bit of a fan of hers from Year One, where she plays Jack Black’s love-interest ‘Maya’… although sadly she doesn’t display quite as much armpit hair here. Meanwhile one of her co-writers, Casey Wilson, appears as a bride-to-be who snags the only other available date at the Plaza, and consequently becomes the target of the protagonists’ rather aggressive “persuasion” techniques. I’m not sure I’ve seen her in anything before, but she was definitely a stand-out here even before I knew she was partly responsible for the script.