June is the traditional month for brides but January is the month for Hollywood’s duds, so the timing for this chick flick is understandable. Yet the box-office appeal to women who lined up for “Sex and the City,” “Mamma Mia!” and “27 Dresses,” which occupied the same slot last year, is minimal.
New Yorkers Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) have been best friends since childhood, when their mothers took them to lunch at the Plaza’s Palm Court, so they’ve always dreamed of the perfect (i.e. extravagantly expensive) wedding at that luxurious hotel across from Central Park. When their respective boyfriends (Steve Howie, Chris Platt) propose, they rush off to chic wedding planner, Marion St. Clair (Candice Bergen). But because of a clerical error, both nuptials are scheduled for the same date, same time, same place. Oops!
Immediately, Liv, the confident corporate lawyer, and Emma, the kind-hearted elementary school teacher, transform into “Mean Girls,” deceitfully sabotaging each other’s preparations. Liv sends Emma chocolates, day after day, so she’ll gain weight and burst out of her Vera Wang dress. Emma slips orange dye into Liv’s tanning salon formula so she emerges looking like a mango. And so it goes.
Screenwriter Greg DePaul, Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael propagate the odious concept that women become snarling, selfish harridans when they cannot have their own way. Neither of the brats – I mean, Bridezillas – nor their friends, have a shred of self-realization, connecting their entire sense of worth to their ability to find a prospective husband and to drag him to the altar in high style. And director Gary Winick (“Charlotte’s Web,” “13 Going on 30”) seems content to focus on the fluffy, childish fights.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Bride Wars” is a floundering 4, particularly since the funniest moments are in the trailer; if you’ve seen that, you’ve seen the movie.