Friday, June 8, 2012

Bride Wars

Next on the list of movies I meant to see when they came out but am just now watching year's later, Bride Wars, circa 2009.

First off, for having two such, moderately big-name leads, Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, I thought the male supporting cast to be intriguingly lower-caliber. Let's have a run-down, shall we?

Fletcher - Chris Pratt
Also known as: That guy from Parks & Rec

Daniel - Steve Howey
Also known as: That redneck from Reba

Nate - Bryan Greenberg
Also known as: That kid from The Perfect Score

Bride Wars is about two twenty-something best friends who have been obsessed with their wedding days since the tender age of about seven or so. They have dreamed of June weddings at the Plaza Hotel all their lives. In the meantime, while waiting for the "right one" to come along, they've miraculously managed to become a lawyer and teacher respectively. Liv, an aggressive go-getter lawyer, has Daniel, whom she expects to propose any day. She even finds a Tiffany box in the closet but he has not asked. Emma, a teacher, is quiet and trod on by co-workers. Her boyfriend, Fletcher, asks her to marry him before Liv gets her Tiffany ring, prompting Liv to essentially force Daniel into proposing. How perfect, both friends are engaged. They'll be each other's maids of honor, of course. They arrange to meet with Marion St. Claire, also known as Murphy Brown, the best wedding planner EVER. They're in luck, three dates are available at the Plaza in June. Liv takes the sixth. Emma takes the twenty-seventh. Bliss!

BUT! Oh noes! Angela, the assistant, booked them incorrectly. They're BOTH booked on the sixth! What will they do!? How will they overcome this terrible mistake! A double wedding? What about a double wedding? EVERYONE suggests a double wedding. Why? Because that makes sense. But, Liv and Emma, refuse to have a double wedding, it's supposed to be their day. One of them will just have to live without the Plaza. Their relationship immediately deteriorates. Like instantly. They will spend the next forty-five minutes or so doing terrible things to one another, simultaneously planning their own and sabotaging the other's wedding. 

On June 6th, both women wish to reconcile but are too proud to do so. Liv tries to undo her last attack on Emma, switching her video montage, but is foiled in her attempt to make it right. When Emma walks down the aisle to a video of her college spring break trip, she ditches her own wedding to go get in a cat fight with Liv across the hall. Then Emma realizes she doesn't want to marry Fletcher, that she's settling. So Emma & Fletcher say goodbye and magically she's free to be Liv's maid of honor. And start up a relationship with Liv's brother, Nate.

It all happens kind of quick. It is also all easily visible from MILES away. And, while I understand that this is a romantic comedy and meant to be taken lightly, I am really uncomfortable with some of the messages in this film. Particularly regarding marriage and women's views toward it.

First off, the obsession. These girls are consumed with marriage. Check that, with weddings, because it doesn't seem like either of them has any focus on a point past that day. It's amazing they manage to hold down jobs. There also is a very unhealthy attitude of judging one's self-worth on marriage status. When other friends hear that Liv and Emma are engaged they turn to pills and binge eating. That's healthy. 
Toward the beginning of the film, Liv and Emma are in attendance at a mutual friends' wedding, which obviously is not good enough because it's not June and it's not the Plaza. Indeed, a good wedding should be extravagant and expensive and is really more about the reception than the actual marriage ceremony. The bride of the day, already drunk, is already looking forward to a lonely and dissatisfying marriage. She will be divorced by the end of the movie. But that's okay, it's only her first. Seriously, they say that. Apparently there's a number of divorces you reach before people should give you condolences. And then there's this chestnut from Marion St. Claire: 
A wedding marks the first day of the rest of your life. You have been dead until now. Were you aware of that? You're dead right now.
Jesus, let's throw a rendition of Dean Martin's Your Nobody Till Somebody Loves You in there too, shall we?

But it's not just the weddings that inspire unhealthy attitudes. By mid-sabotage-montage, it is entirely obvious that Emma and Fletcher will not work out. Mostly because we're basically told in a voice-over from Marion St. Claire. While Liv turns to Daniel during this stressful and zany time, finding solace in his understanding that he loves her but what she really needs is her best gal pal, Emma finds only silence and impatience from Fletcher. I was disappointed that they chose this route. The signs are so obvious to everyone else and, though I understand she's busy ruining Liv's wedding, Emma never stops to notice how dissatisfied she and Fletcher are, how much they aren't working things out. That is, until the day of the wedding. Hell, she's even walking down the aisle and it takes a full on white-tulle rumble to make her question if she wants to be with Fletcher. I recognize that these sorts of self-revelations happen in real life (probably not as often as in movies) but it is, again, instantaneous. They have been in a relationship for TEN years and there is not even a discussion of trying to work on their relationship. They're just done. Good, good. Best not to try and work things out. 

As Liv and Daniel dance and Emma and Nate flirt (Seriously!? You just broke up with your fiance less than an hour ago. You were about to say "I do"), Marion St. Claire once again bestows her wisdom:
It was quite a wedding and, as I stood there watching, I realized something I'd forgotten a long time ago. Sometimes in life there really are bonds formed that can never be broken. Sometimes you really can find that one person who will stand by you not matter what. Maybe you will find it in a spouse and celebrate it with your dream wedding. But there's also the chance that the one person you cna count on for a lifetime, the one person who knows you sometimes better than you know yourself, is that same person who's been standing beside you all along.
While poorly worded in my opinion, I guess I like the sentiment. That kindred spirits come in more relationships than just your spouse. I feel like this was the one genuine virtue in this film. 

On a more whiny note, while Anne Hathaway is a decent actress, I have a difficult time believing her in adult roles. She has not physically changed from her role in the Princess Diaries. She maybe got taller. I have a feeling accepting her as Catwoman in Dark Knight Rises and Fantine in Les Miserables is going to be a challenge.

Anyway, maybe I would have like that movie more if I'd had more wine. I'm going to go watch Penelope again. There's nothing to snark in Penelope, it's too whimsically wonderful.


  1. Ah, this was a cute movie! And I just adore Bryan Greenberg so goes without saying, I've seen almost everything he's in :-) enjoy the show!

  2. It annoys me how they treat each other as lifelong best friends, but if you let that go and accept that it's just a movie for entertainment purposes, it can be enjoyable. It bugged me too that there was no discussion or working to improve the relationship (though I was hoping Nate would be Emma's pick all along). Loved seeing the "kindred spirits" sentiment outside of our dear Anne of Green Gables :)