Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) are best friends who have been planning their dream wedding since childhood - at New York's Plaza Hotel. Now it is about to become a reality - when Liv's boyfriend Daniel (Steve Howie) and Emma's Fletcher (Chris Pratt) pop the question. The girls rush to the Plaza to book their special day with wedding planner Marion St Clair (Candice Bergen), but a clerical error occurs and both Liv and Emma's weddings are booked for the same day. Suddenly their close friendship turns to all out war, with Liv's brother Nate (Bryan Greenberg) stuck in the middle.
Review by Louise Keller:
While the premise is as flimsy as a brides' veil, Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway make this girls-only comedy about two girls, two weddings and a friendship in crisis, into a moderately enjoyable, if forgettable affair. It's formulaic and predictable with few surprises, but the company is good as we watch two happy bride-to-be best friends turn into brides-from-hell, intent on revenge most foul. As a fantasy cum-buddy movie with a few laughs, the film delivers pretty much what is expected, although had the scriptwriters injected pathos into the mix, we could have been tossed a wedding bouquet trimmed with cutting edge, when the wedding itself becomes more important than the reason behind it.
Although Hudson's successful lawyer Liv and Hathaway's school teacher Emma are totally different, they have shared the same dream as long as they can remember - to be a June bride at the fabulous New York Plaza Hotel opposite Central Park, with its plush surrounds and crystal chandeliers. As best friends, Liv and Emma's differences have always complemented each other: Liv's aggression and confidence have acted as inspiration to the kind-hearted and loyal Emma. But once their special day is jeopardised, they bring out the worst in each other, when both girls are cats on heat, hissing, kicking and extending sharp talons. The best part of the film comes before the date mix-up, when Emma's boyfriend Fletcher (Chris Patt) pops the question before Liv's boyfriend Daniel (Steve Howie). Liv has already started spreading the word of her impending engagement, indiscreetly downing shots of tequila after she finds a little giftbox from Tiffanys hidden in the wardrobe.
Hudson and Hathaway team beautifully and both have a natural sense of comedy. Candice Bergen's stitched up wedding planner Mario St Clair is little more than a caricature, but I did laugh when she informs the wide-eyed brides-to-be 'You have been dead until now.' Once the gloves are off and the girls are both intent to spoil the other's day (blue hair, orange tan and sweet goodies to ensure the Vera Wang wedding dress will not fit), the film plays like a series of skits, which are played for laughs. I like Kristen Johnston's Deb, the vile, self-centred and outspoken debating teacher who Emma recruits as maid of honour in sheer desperation. The husbands-to-be are incidental, of course, and there's no prize for guessing what happens after Mendelsohn's timeless bridal march is played; it's all about the journey and the celebration of friendship, be it as it may.
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BRIDE WARS (PG)
CAST: Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Candice Bergen, Steve Howey, Bryan Greenberg
PRODUCER: Kate Hudson, Alan Ritchie, Peter Ritchie, Julie Yorn
DIRECTOR: Gary Winick
SCRIPT: Greg DePaul, Casey Wilson, June Diane Raphael
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Frederick Elmes
EDITOR: Susan Littenberg
MUSIC: Edward Shearmur
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dan Leigh
RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 15, 2009