It seems like we’re at a point, culturally, where the idea that every woman’s Ultimate Goal in Life is to be married to a man has been pretty roundly dismissed. Yes? That doesn’t mean that lots of women don’t very much want to be married to a man. (Sidenote: if anyone has Freida Pinto’s email, could you please send it to me? I just need to ask her something really quick.) And it doesn’t mean that the goal of being married to a man is a bad goal. It’s a perfectly reasonable goal! There are far worse goals in this world, like the goal to have the world’s largest collection of Good Morning, Miami memorabilia (bad goal! But if it makes you happy, then please go for it.) And the hundreds of years of cultural reinforcement that marriage (between a man and a woman, OBVIOUSLY) is desirable makes it a relatively easy goal to achieve and a relatively easy goal for which one can find support from one’s family and friends. No one gets too creeped out if that’s what you want. But I’m just saying we agree that some women don’t necessarily want that. Even, if you can believe it, some pretty, intelligent, confident women. Obviously, the fat, lonely, Haagen-Dazs stained women all say they don’t even care, but we know they care, RIGHT, LADIES? Lonely people are so fat and funny! Here’s the thing, though: even the women who DO want AS MUCH AS ANYTHING ELSE IN THIS LIFE to be MARRIED TO A MAN, they also want other things. Right? Like, they want to, I don’t know, go on a trip somewhere, or go see a play that their friend is acting in to support their friend, or rent a house off Craigslist for a holiday weekend. WHATEVER. They might want literally ANYTHING in addition to wanting to find a loving and cherished partner with whom to spend the rest of their life, or at least a few years until they get ding dong divorced.
Unless, of course, you are the two main characters in Bride Wars, who really want to get married and that’s all they want the end. Ladies, stop burning your bras and start burning COPIES OF THIS MOVIE!
As Bride Wars opens, we learn that two best friends, Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway), have dreamed of their weddings ever since they were little girls. Now they are all grown up, and they both still basically dream of their weddings. Sure, Liv is a high-powered attorney, and Emma is a beloved schoolteacher, and they both live in New York, which is an endlessly fascinating city of infinite possibilities, but mostly they just really want to get married. To men. FAIR ENOUGH. Luckily, they both have serious boyfriends, and as it turns out, they both get proposed to around the same time. Actually, first Kate Hudson finds a Tiffany’s box and tells everyone that she is engaged even though her boyfriend hasn’t actually proposed to her. Cool. Cool girlfriend. A man would be lucky (so lucky) to have such a wonderful girlfriend. In the meantime, Anne Hathaway gets actual engaged, at which point, Kate Hudson has a melt down and bursts into her boyfriend’s office in the middle of the day and basically bullies him into proposing to her on the spot. Like I said, VERY COOL GIRLFRIEND. If you like it, and why wouldn’t you like it, then you should put a ring on it, etc.
The two women go to their favorite wedding planner’s office to plan their weddings together (because OF COURSE they have a “favorite wedding planner”? Because that is a real thing and these are real women and this movie is about real human beings who do the things that human beings do) and it seems like everything is “perfect” when they both get to have their wedding at the Plaza Hotel in June, two Must Haves on both of their Dream Wedding Bucket Lists. But then there is a mix-up, and now both of their weddings (at the Plaza, because who WOULDN’T want their wedding at an overpriced tourist trap in midtown?!) are scheduled for the same day. And thus begins the Bride Wars. Anne Hathaway sends secret cookies to Kate Hudson’s office to make her too fat for her dress. Kate Hudson changes out Anne Hathaway’s tanning salon misting bottle with one called “Blood Orange” because that’s definitely a color people would actively select at a tanning salon and definitely exists. Anne Hathaway something something dyes Kate Hudson’s hair blue and she has to wear a wig. Basically, these two women who have been best friends for their entire lives spend months engaging in actual criminal activity against each other in attempts to ruin each other’s weddings. Blah blah blah, they almost make up finally, and then instead of making up, they get into a fistfight DURING their weddings, and that is when Anne Hathaway realizes she shouldn’t get married anyway (wait, what?) and Kate Hudson has a beautiful wedding. Suddenly, a gunman bursts into the Plaza and murders everyone. Then we fade out and then we fade back in and oh, wait, nevermind, Anne Hathaway got married to Kate Hudson’s brother and now they’re both pregnant. Oof. Sure! BRIDE WARS 2: THIS TIME IT’S BABY WARS.
WHERE DO WE EVEN BEGIN WITH THIS MOTHERFUCKER?
How about we begin with the fact that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a movie with more two-dimensional characters, which wouldn’t be a problem with a stupid “comedy” except that this particular stupid comedy centered on two women who we were supposed to believe had convinced two grown men to marry them. Uh, how? BY TALKING ABOUT GETTING MARRIED ALL THE TIME? These women literally do not have ONE SINGLE conversation that is not about, or does not eventually return to, the subject of the weddings they wish they were having. Hot. No wonder their boyfriends fell in love with them. I’m sure the guys were lining up to date these two winners. And once they finally got a date, I bet these guys couldn’t wait to go on a second date. And so on and so on. I’m more willing than some people might expect to enjoy a romantic comedy about True Love and Romance and Weddings, but you have to give me something to work with for why the people are together in the first place. “They both hailed the same cab in the middle of a terrible rainstorm.” OK, I’M ON BOARD, THAT’S FINE. But this movie doesn’t even have them hailing cabs in rain storms. It’s just them carrying around oversized bridal magazines and being real cunts to each other. Cool, so just to recap: they are both wonderful women to be in love with, and wonderful women to be best friends with. Let’s enjoy their adventures for two hou[GUNSHOT].
To make matters worse, Anne Hathaway’s boyfriend/fiance who she dumps on their wedding day is played by Chris Pratt, who also plays Andy on Parks and Recreation and is THE BEST. And I don’t just mean that he is the best on Parks & Recreation, I mean that he is the best in this, too, and also just in general. At one point they have a “big fight” which is supposed to pave the narrative way for their relationship falling apart. Sure. Would you like to know what the fight is about? The fight goes something like this:
Chis Pratt: You know, you’re being a really terrible person to your best friend, and I think you should stop.
Anne Hathaway: I’m a woman, Chris Pratt! Sometimes I’m going to be a terrible person to my best friend!
Chris Pratt: Seriously, just stop being such an asshole. When we fell in love you weren’t an asshole, but now you’re an asshole.
Anne Hathaway: What are you trying to say?!
Chris Pratt: Ugh.
After the fight she takes a bath full of lemon slices? You know, lady stuff.
But, so she leaves him? Because he told her the truth about her INSANE and UNACCEPTABLE behavior in an entirely rational way? Sure. She actually says to him, “I think you’re still in love with the girl you met 10 years ago, but that girl doesn’t exist anymore.” No, because she has been replaced by a sociopathic cunt nightmare. Like I have been saying the whole time: what a lovable wonderful woman that any man would be so lucky to spend the rest of his life
murdering I MEAN MARRYING. (And I know there is a common feminist complaint that the women in movies are shrews while the men are endlessly charming, and that’s a reasonable complaint, but one solution would be NOT TO MAKE MOVIES LIKE THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE.)
Oh, there’s another part when Anne Hathaway runs into Kate Hudson’s brother, played by Bryan Greenberg, who asks her to come with him to his tuxedo fitting. Much like the aforementioned fight with Chris Pratt, this scene is meant to establish that Anne Hathaway and Bryan Greenberg are the ones who are really meant for each other, and pave the narrative way for it to make sense to us when they eventually become a post-script romantic couple. Would you like to know how they create such a subtle suggestion in the audience’s mind? Like this:
Anne Hathaway: You look really great in your tuxedo and you’re going to make a very handsome mumble mumble nervous for no reason.
Bryan Greenberg: Thanks. And you’re going to make a beautiful bride. I always thought so.
That is an actual IMDB Memorable Quote from the movie: “you’re going to make a beautiful bride. I always thought so.” I ALWAYS THOUGHT SO! You know how young men are always sitting around thinking about how women would make beautiful brides. ALWAYS DOING THAT. What the fuck does that even MEAN, Bryan Greenberg? (I’m assuming Bryan Greenberg wrote all his own dialogue, the way that all actors do in all movies.)
Besides being lazy and unfunny and poorly written and impossibly unrealistic, Bride Wars is just a terrible depiction of womanhood. It comes, of course, out of the Bridezilla era of reality television in which women are reduced to cruel caricatures for wanting something that doesn’t really exist but is based on their preconceived notions based in movies and TV, and going about it in less than flattering ways. The unfortunate truth is that in some ways the characters of Liv and Emma are probably A LITTLE realistic, at least of a certain kind of woman. We live in a big world, and there are self-absorbed nightmares who would absolutely try to ruin their best friend’s life in order to get something that they want for some poorly thought-out reason. Those people DO exist, and they probably DO really want to get married at the Plaza in June to a dude who runs a Hedge Fund and that’s the only thing anyone knows about him. (Not that the movie doesn’t try to cover its bases by including women who take pills and eat an entire pint of ice cream when they find out their friend is getting married because of how women be jealousin’.)
But this isn’t a documentary. It’s a make believe movie. And as such, it does what make believe movies do, which is wink and nod to the viewer, as if to say, “Hey, you know you’re kind of like this, right, ladies? We all are! This is you! It’s good to laugh at yourself.” Well, no one is laughing.
And go fuck yourself.