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21 May 2024

It's time to sing those wedding blues

Hudson and Hathaway fight it out to walk up the aisle of New York's Plaza Hotel. (SUPPLIED)

By Kirk Honeycutt

June 6 is the anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy, France, by Allied Forces in 1944. Fox's comedy Bride Wars would have you believe two best friends would go to war with a ferocity equal to the Normandy landing when their wedding dates both fall on June 6 at New York's Plaza Hotel.

Unfortunately, the skirmishes between the combatants – played with more energy than believability by Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson – never rise to the level of truly outrageous.

Having two glamorous leads might stir female interest, which could bring mid- level business. After a couple of weeks, though, Bride Wars will be heading for the divorce court.

By means of a clerical error, which lacks credibility because it comes from the office of the supposed queen of wedding planners, Marion St Claire (Candice Bergen), two lifelong friends find themselves with the same wedding date and destination. Liv (Hudson) is a determined litigator who is used to getting her way. Emma (Hathaway) is an overly nice schoolteacher determined, for once, to have her wedding be "about me".

The movie, scripted by Greg DePaul, Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael, dives right into the mischief with misplaced glee given the lameness of the conspiracies. Liv sneaks into a tanning salon to ensure her rival comes out with orange skin; Emma sneaks into a hair salon to ensure her rival comes out with blue hair. What the script doesn't do is dive deep enough into the women's characters to lay the foundation for these sneak attacks. Ditto that in spades for the poor fiancés, who are reduced to dress extras at the weddings.

Director Gary Winick fails to establish rhythm to the comic mayhem. And he directs his actresses to play the same level of frustration and rage. They are different, so let them be different.

There probably was a smart comedy here about rival nuptials. Lord knows, Hollywood has made enough movies about weddings. But Bride Wars never gets off its high-concept stool long enough to explore what makes weddings so exciting and nerve-racking.

Hathaway comes off best, if only because nothing in the script makes Hudson's character the least bit sympathetic. The two manage to suggest a strong female bond, enough so as to undermine the movie's basic premise.