When I got the call to review a film on my day off, with a little rescheduling I managed to free up the afternoon. Then I was told it was 'Bride Wars' and my heart sank; a feeling I am sure plenty of males will get when their other halves tell them they shall be taking a visit to the cinema to watch said film.
Why is that? Well, anything with Bride in the title and involving Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson - to the best of my knowledge - usually strikes the fear of God into any chick flick-hating cinemagoer.
So, with this trepidation, I set forth for the cinema, braced for the worst but hoping for a lot more.
'Bride Wars' is the story of two childhood best friends, Liv (Hudson) and Emma (Hathaway) and their respective weddings. Both Liv and Emma have planned the minutiae of their weddings from the early days of their youth and know exactly what they want on the big day; this goes not only for themselves but also for each other. The pièce de résistance of these weddings is to be a reception party at New York's ultimate bridal destination, the Plaza Hotel.
So, this is the premise. How lovely, quaint and charming, until boom: catastrophe occurs. Both women hire NYC's foremost party planner Marion St Claire (Bergen) to organise their ceremonies. Unfortunately for our two pin-up superstar leading ladies, St Claire's assistant is not so gifted and through a clerical error, books the weddings for the same day in June. In a sensible world, such trustworthy and lifelong friends would have a joint wedding, but alas no, this is NYC and these women will not give an inch.
Neither lady wants to forego their dream wedding and as a result they both commit to having their weddings on the same day - thus leading to multiple attempts to outdo and/or sabotage their former best friend's event.
Right, let me get this off my chest: Firstly, I am not a woman; secondly, by my guesstimation, 90% of men do not like chickflicks. I am not one of the other 10%.
From the outset, director Gary Winick creates a female dominated world which the audience will inhabit for the next 90 minutes. This comes complete with verbal cat-fights, clothes galore, chocolate jokes, bitchiness, soppy relationship moments etc. Now, this is not to say that this world is not well created. From my knowledge the world the film recreates is - as much as can be expected for Hollywood output - true to life. The problem is that the men in the film don't get much of a look-in. They're peripheral characters and are underdrawn the majority of the time. The frustrating thing is that during the segments of the film where they are given a little character development, the roles take on new life.
Admittedly, there are also some excellent comedy scenes which will make anyone laugh peppered throughout the work.
Visually, the film does exactly what one would hope. Sartorially, everyone looks a million dollars and the production design is flawless - it even made me want to have my wedding in the Plaza. Cinematographically, it's bright, colourful and makes the beautiful faces look, well, beautiful. However, the cinematographer here is Frederick Elmes, who has worked with Ang Lee, David Lynch and Jim Jarmusch. When I saw his name, I was hoping for a cut above the rest image wise, so perhaps there is a missed opportunity there.
The all-important script has problems, the major one being that many of the jokes have been seen before in several films over the years and are quite flaccid. The story is told succinctly, though, and the two leads are excellently drawn. Hathaway is good as the schoolteacher who reveals her Bridezilla. Kate Hudson absolutely steals the show, however, as the selfish, New York lawyer, who lets nothing get in her way, ever.
The supporting cast are written as quirky, hilarious and script enriching but just don't quite hit the mark, although Kristen Johnston's ('3rd Rock from the Sun') turn as Deb has some very funny moments.
Word to the wise: this is very much '13 Going on 30' not the 'Devil Wears Prada'. In other words, gents, if you must see this, brace yourselves; fans of chick flicks, prepare to enjoy the bitch-off. However, it must be said, there are far worse films out there.