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New Regency

Two weddings and a fight

Movies | Hathaway, Hudson can't rescue Bride Wars

Issue: "Schock factor," Jan. 31, 2009

As much as romantic comedies tend to idolize the happy ending of marriage, films that actually depict wedding planning are almost universally negative about the events leading up to matrimony.

In movies from Four Weddings and a Funeral, to Love, Actually, to Father of the Bride and 27 Dresses, the process of getting married is depicted as a business, and an unpleasant one at that. In Gary Winick's Bride Wars (rated PG for suggestive content, language, and some rude behavior), Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson toss away a 20-year friendship, ignore their future husbands, and discard their pleasant personalities for an old-fashioned, knock-down, drag-out girl fight.

The two childhood friends share the dream of a June wedding at the Plaza hotel in New York. At nearly the same time, they lock down their engagement proposals, their wedding planner, and venue-until they learn that the ultimate wedding planner, Marion St. Claire (Candace Bergen), has booked their weddings on the same date. Rather than reschedule or come up with a rational solution, the two best friends decide to split their guest lists, find new maids of honor, and buckle down for what are clearly going to be subpar weddings across the hall from each other at the Plaza on June 6.

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Hathaway and Hudson's skills as endearing female leads are put to the test with this farcical premise, and though their attempts to navigate the script's vacillations between harried emotions are impressive, things do not always go according to plan. Despite thin attempts to flesh out secondary characters and imbue the leads with something beyond petty vindictiveness, it's clear that Bride Wars is overly excited by the cinematic denouement of a wedding aisle bride tackle.

Shows like Bridezillas may have an audience in reality television, but even two of America's sweethearts can't bring that tripe above the level of base amusement.

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