How bad is Bride Wars? Put it this way: it’s not even the best wedding-centric movie starring Anne Hathaway out this month.
Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married is full of heartache and wounds that won’t heal… and it’s stillfunnier than Gary Winick’s flat-flooted ‘frenemies’ romp.
BFFs since childhood, Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Hathaway) fall out with plot-spurring swiftness when their respective nuptials are scheduled on the same date at NY’s Plaza Hotel. Even accepting the predictability built into this scenario, Bride Wars is a bust.
OK, the early character-sketching vaguely tantalises: Liv is pushy, Emma a pushover. Bound to be some vicarious buzz when the latter grows a spine and learns to fight, right?
Nope. “Your wedding will be huge – just like your ass at prom!” squawks Hath. Alas, that’s as punchy as the put-downs get. The pettiness that seizes the pair is never outrageous or creative enough to translate into big laughs.
Most of the prankery pulled would shame a discontinued ITV sitcom. You’re left counting the minutes until Winick yanks the treacle-cord.
Disposable, vapid, lazy? All of the above, plus something more insidious: a black and white take on gender that pigeonholes all the female roles as self-centred, flaky or basically mental – and the male ones as reasonable, sensible and wise.
Not that their wisdom will open many eyes… “Life isn’t perfect. It’s messy,” Liv’s fiancé (Steve Howey) tells her, bottling the trite tone.
If such pearls don’t leave you feeling patronised, there’s always the sugary voiceover from über-wedding planner Candice Bergen – who, like crazed maid of honour Kristen Johnston, is primed to steal scenes only to find none worth nicking.
The only winner in these Wars is fashion designer Vera Wang, landing a feature-length ad for her feted wares.
Soulless and soul-sapping. Bar the embarrassing dance interludes, Hathaway just about gets away unscathed, but the big loser is Hudson – not only is her performance shouty and charmless, she produced this mess too.