The first surprising thing about Bride Wars is that it is not the worst movie I have ever seen. The second, possibly related surprising thing is that Casey Wilson, formerly of ten collective minutes of SNL and one of my favorite funny internet videos of all time, is among the screenwriters.
Don’t get me wrong: Bride Wars is gross and Casey Wilson is better than it. But after having seen it, I can at least understand, kind of, why anyone, even someone awesome like Casey Wilson, would think a movie like this should be made.
The premise is simple: two wedding-obsessed best friends accidentally book their weddings at the same venue (the Plaza Hotel) on the same date (the first Saturday in June). As such, their friendship unravels into a non-stop side-splittingly hilarious cat fight! Beyond the jump, spoilers abound:
The film begins by attempting to explain how these two girls became obsessed with weddings. You see, it was all happenstance, not culture. Two simple (upper middle class) girls from New Jersey had tea (TEA!) with their mothers (one of whom will die before the opening narration ends) at the Plaza Hotel in NYC one fateful day in June. They witnessed a thin, white bride’s exit from her glorious Plaza in June wedding, and from then on both friends fantasized about weddings beyond all their other dreams.
Specifically, June weddings at the Plaza Hotel.
Which is why, when attending a friend’s wedding, the following absurd dialogue introduces the grown-up versions of the eponymous bridal warriors:
K.Hud: Not too shabby: Caviar cocktail hour…
A.Hath: …Cigar roller, white-glove service…
K.Hud: …Celadon cymbidium orchids…
A.Hath: …Great DJ. So we both admit its beautiful.
K.Hud: But, if it had been my wedding…
A.Hath: Just say it!
K.Hud: It ain’t the Plaza.
A.Hath: And it ain’t June.
K.Hud: It’s the elephant in the room!
Wait. What! People want cigar rollers at weddings? That sounds gross. And if weddings happen outside the Plaza at June, it becomes the elephant in the room? What a bizarre way to introduce your main characters. [But seriously, Bride Wars isn't one of the worst movies I've ever seen. For example, I have seen Terminator: Salvation.]
This insane swath of dialogue also introduces the film’s bizarre, intermittent preoccupation with class differences. That is, the difference between the fabulously wealthy and those merely upper-middle class. Because if you’re going to offend womens studies majors of the world, why not do so with intersectionality? In this scene, A.Hath’s character is also publicly mocked by the bride for wearing a dress she wore to a sorority formal years ago. K.Hud., who will later charitably donate a designer blouse to A.Hath, has her back, because they are true friends.
Two friends who are about to become engaged at practically the same moment! K.Hud discovers her Tiffany engagement ring accidentally and throws herself a party, without her fiancé, because she’s a control freak ever since her parents both died. She’s also a lawyer! Believe it or not, I found her the less sympathetic character.
A.Hath goes home to receive her “slightly included, close to a carat, definitely more than he can afford” engagement ring inside a fortune cookie while watching an episode of American Idol. Her fiancé says that he can’t imagine a better life than watching American Idol with her until they are old and gray, which I think is supposed to be a red flag, but I seriously hope Collin and I are watching the 2070 version of Crystal Bowersox (perhaps a delightful concertina-playing Montana native named Jaydaenna Applesloop) together. [Also, this reminds me of more proof that Bride Wars is not the worst movie I have ever seen: I have seen From Justin to Kelly.]
Once both ladies are officially engaged, they make a dual appointment with Candice Bergen’s wedding planner/narrator. [Man, Murphy Brown was a fundamental building block to my feminism, and I have to say it kind of kills me that THE MURPH has been reduced to occasional supporting roles forgettable antifeminism comedies over the last decade.] Contrivance steps in to force both leads to have booked their weddings at the Plaza on the same June Saturday. It’s the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Bride Wars.
Battles in the Bride Wars include:
- A. Hath attempting to fatten K.Hud so she will not fit into her Vera Wang gown (because you don’t alter a Vera to fit you, you alter yourself to fit Vera).
- Rich K.Hud outbidding Poor A.Hath for all her favorite vendors. (Why poor A.Hath can afford a wedding at the Plaza in the first place is meant to be brushed off with “saving for ten years.”)
- Sabotages of spray tans and hair dyes to produce “hilarious,” surprisingly-temporary orange skin and blue hair
- A sexy dance-off at a male strip club improbably attended by straight females who care which of the warring brides wins. [Honestly, Bride Wars isn't the worst movie I've ever seen. I've seen SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2.]
In the midst of these wars, K.Hud jeopardizes her job and A.Hath jeopardizes her marriage-to-be. A.Hath. ultimately decides not to marry her fiancé, on the day of her wedding, because it is apparently a requirement of wedding movies that at least one wedding portrayed falls apart on the scene.
A.Hath. doesn’t go through with her wedding because the groom thinks she’s become a bitch during the bride wars, but she thinks she’s finally learned to stick up for herself. I didn’t buy this plot development at all, in part because I found the fiancé charming, if doofy and stereotypically macho. Like I said, I want to watch American Idol into perpetuity. Moreover, I did find A.Hath’s behavior unpleasant, and in her fiancé’s shoes, I might reconsider marrying her after seeing it as well.
Even though I thought that storyline was lame, it is where I saw the most thwarted potential in this movie. I’ve written before about the Big Wedding as society’s consolation prize to women in lieu of meaningful equality. Maybe somewhere along the line Bride Wars was meant to lambast this notion by portraying a doormat everywoman going completely out of her mind when her one chance to be “number one” comes in conflict with her duties to others, including a domineering best friend. But really, the movie is nothing more than a big mess of clichés about how women secretly hate each other and have endless reserves of cruelty hiding behind their phony smiles.
Bride Wars ends with some totally out of left field moral-of-the-story narration about how best friends can be better soul mates than married couples. But I swear it isn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen. [Just keep in mind I've seen the entire 3 Ninjas tetralogy.]
March 23, 2010 at 9:23 am
I, too, have seen Bride Wars. Wow, I just admitted that in writing without the excuse of planning a wedding.
I think you are being totally unfair to 3 Ninjas.
March 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm
So the thing about 3 Ninjas that I could never get past was that all those grown ups had no reservations about getting into karate fights with children. I mean, I realize they are “bad guys,” but trying to beat up kids is probably not on every petty criminal’s to-do list.
March 23, 2010 at 9:27 am
As if your trip to Scotland weren’t meaningful enough, now it can also claim credit for this awesome review. Word.
It means a lot to me that you began your list of movies worse than Bride Wars with Terminator: Salvation.
March 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm
I have comforted myself after many an hour wasted by a bad film by saying, “at least it wasn’t at bad as Terminator: Salvation.” It’s a great strategy!
March 23, 2010 at 9:46 am
I can’t blame Casey Wilson at all for this. Whatever awful process happened to get this awful movie made, it did get made, and she got paid for it. And it’s a big, dumb mainstream film!
A lot of awful movies are made by great writers who are trying to get paid. Hopefully she can come closer to doing a decent project now!
March 23, 2010 at 1:43 pm
Word. I still wish Casey Wilson buckets of success and rooms full of money. (Also, I wonder on a scale of one to murder how much it annoys her that Kristen Wiig is writing a wedding movie.)
March 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm
You’ve seen Baby Geniuses TWO? That’s all I could think to comment for a few minutes.
Great review. I appreciated all the feminist info/lingo/discourse. I’m also quite curious how all that feminism crap will play out in your personal Bride War with yo’self! (…hopefully ‘yo’ indicates ‘crap’ is me being funny)
So. Because this movie is so completely mind-boggling in “meaning” to me, I was wondering if despite an obvious target audience, is it actually aimed at the single lady? Or ladies who choose to remain bf/gf, live together, but have no plans to get married? Is Casey just going for a giant goof on the ridiculousness of weddings? K. Hud’s a lawyer right? So the absurd pointlessness of weddings causes even _lawyer_ ladies to be evil! …that kind of thing?
March 23, 2010 at 1:46 pm
Wait, aren’t lawyers evil to begin with?
Anyway, this interview seems to support that at least after the movie was made, Casey and her BFF co-screenwriter emphasize the theme of the film is bitches be crazy. But I still like her! I’m stubborn that way.
April 4, 2010 at 1:14 pm
Let me explain to you how Bride Wars was almost an awesome premise for a movie.
So, maybe I view the world with a bit of a queer lens, but when I saw the preview for Bridewars, for the first half of it I thought it was going to be a rom-com about best friends realizing that they are in love as they are each planning their wedding to some bland dude. Could have been SO CUTE! Keep some of the competition stuff, but cut most of it and replace it with sparky conversations with other friends (who realized this truth years ago), mutual confessions of liking/loving, and then a giant “Stop the wedding!” scene followed by a new girls who really love each other wedding. I submit that this could have been a far better movie.
April 5, 2010 at 11:21 am
Meredith, when you get a minute, could you write and produce that movie? Because I want to see it!
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