Monday, January 19, 2009

Your Wedding Better Watch It

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) are best friends who since childhood have planned every detail of their respective weddings. At the top of their bridal "must have" list: a ceremony at New York's ultimate bridal destination, the Plaza Hotel. Now, at age 26, they're both about to get married; they're about to realize their dreams; and they're about to live happily ever after. When a clerical error causes a clash in wedding dates - they're now to be married on the same date! - Liv, Emma and their lifelong friendship are put to the ultimate test. Liv, a successful lawyer who is used to getting what she wants, including the perfect job and the perfect man, won't settle for anything less than the perfect wedding she has dreamed of for years. Emma, a schoolteacher who has always been good at taking care of others, but not so much in looking after herself, discovers her inner Bridezilla and comes out swinging when her own dream wedding is imperiled.

Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson make charming frenemies in the new comedy Bride Wars. Hathaway has a shy demeanor that grows into assertiveness while Hudson is snappy and sparkling from start to finish. This isn’t comedy on a grand scale but it is pure enjoyment for those who get into the spirit of the film. Liv (Hudson) and Emma (Hathaway) have been friends since childhood. They played dolls and dress up together and always wanted to be part of each other’s wedding. Plus the wedding had to take place at the Plaza Hotel in New York in June. Liv grew up to be a successful attorney while Emma opted for the life of a grade school teacher. Though different in lifestyles and surroundings, their friendship has remained strong. So of course they are thrilled when they get engaged within days of each other. Their fiancĂ©es, Fletcher (Chris Pratt) and Daniel (Steve Howey), handle the female bonding without comment. The serpent enters this garden of glee when the young women find that through a mistake the weddings have been booked at the Plaza for the same day. This means in order to be part of each other’s weddings someone will have to change their date. At first things go friendly and cooperatively but then things escalate and “bride wars” break out. Both Hudson and Hathaway are good enough actresses to keep the fun flying and the sentiment in check – until the end. Then it is sweet time for the women and for the audience. This ends the movie on a bright note and satisfies all who attend. Hudson shows some Goldie Hawn talent in this film. She looks great and does the physical and verbal comedy with ease. Hathaway is a more reserved actress but she throws herself into this part and makes Emma’s transition believable. Candice Bergen, who has suddenly become the grande damme of Hollywood, plays the wedding planner. This would seem to be a fertile field for comedy but Candice plays it straight, to the detriment of the film. Bergen can be hilarious in the right role but this obviously isn’t the right role. Bride Wars is just a fluffy, puffy bit of fun that will take your mind of your problems and focus them on someone else’s. Hudson and Hathaway provide you with laughs while not over complicating a semi-silly situation.Hathaway is terrific as the vulnerable, slightly submissive schoolteacher (although it would have been nice to show her inevitable transformation more fully). Hudson makes good use of the spoiled, kittenish calculation that always lurked behind her daisy-fresh charm. The whole thing goes by quickly and painlessly, providing a few laughs, some decent lines and the requisite hard-core, high-fashion details -- the sort of vicarious window-shopping that movies like this need to deliver as regularly as punch lines. All in all, it's a good girlfriend movie and a decent date-night picture. It won't change your life, of course. But it might begin to change Hudson's career. Go see it, relax and enjoy it. A 3 on my "Go See" scale.

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