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Bride Wars (2009)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 4/28/2009

All Ratings out of
Audio: 1/2
Extras: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/10/2009

If you asked a group of people what a "chick flick" is, you'd probably wouldn't get much debate. I think that most of us would agree that a "chick flick" is a movie which is aimed at a predominantly female audience. Typically, these are romantic-comedies or weepy dramas. But, here's another question; How should these movies portray women? Is these movies are for women, shouldn't they make women feel good about themselves? No one, male or female, will feel good after watching Bride Wars.

Bride Wars introduces us to Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway), two childhood friends who have always been obsessed with weddings. At a young age, they witnessed a bride and groom at The Plaza Hotel, and both decided that that's where they'd want to get married. Now adults, Liv is a lawyer and Emma is a teacher. The two women still put a great deal of emphasis on weddings and critique each one which they attend. Both are waiting for their respective boyfriends, Nate (Bryan Greenberg) and Fletcher (Chris Platt), to propose. Once this finally happens, the two visit wedding planner extraordinaire Marion St. Claire (Candice Bergen), who is able to fulfill their fantasy -- she provides them each with a June wedding date at The Plaza. Liv and Emma are ecstatic and immediately begin planning when Marion calls with bad news. Due to a mix-up, their weddings are now scheduled for the same day. Neither is willing to budge and soon the old friends are attempting to sabotage each other's nuptials.

I had three main problems with Bride Wars and I'll discuss each of them now. (Notice that I said "main" problems. There were lots of little ones as well.) I'll start with the big one. You can call this movie a farcical fantasy all that you'd like, but it paints women in a very, very bad light. Here we have two lifelong friends who are suddenly at one another's throats over a wedding date? My immediate response was "What about a double wedding?" Almost instantaneously, this logical suggestion was put forth in the film and was immediately shot down with very little explanation. So, we have Liv and Emma, who have seen each through thick and thin, doing all that they can to humiliate one another simply because they are both too stubborn to give up the wedding date. I'm not poo-pooing their idea of dream wedding, but this makes both of them look very shallow. Their female friends are no better, as they refuse to take sides. The whole mess does nothing for female solidarity and reinforces the stereotype that women are irrational.

Going with that same theme, my second problem with the movie was that Bride Wars brings home that age-old cliche that no matter what else is going on, a woman has to have the perfect wedding. As if men aren't under enough pressure to please women, we have movies like this which send a message that it doesn't matter if you totally screw-over your best friend -- the wedding is all that matters. The movie even goes as far as to imply that the relationship with the potential groom isn't all that important -- it's that wedding. To this end, due to the lack of character development in the movie, we never have a clue as to why the two couples are together or why Nate and Fletcher would want to marry these two harpies. Any progress which anyone had made to help women shake off the "Bridezilla" is destroyed by this movie.

Gender Studies 101 aside, the biggest problem with Bride Wars is that it's simply a bad movie. It wants to be a comedy with some dramatic touches, but it fails on all fronts. I think that I laughed twice throughout the entire 89 minute movie and this was at two lines from the grooms-to-be. Hudson and Hathaway certainly provide no laughs, as their annoying characters simply produce over-the-top hi-jinks which are merely perplexing, never funny. The finale wants to provide some tear-jerking moments, but only the truly emotionally-challenged will be reaching for the tissues. Everyone else will be reaching for the remote control.

Bride Wars runs screaming down the aisle on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is sharp, but overt grain is present throughout the film. As there are many scenes which take place with a white background, this grain is very noticeable. There are no defects from the source material. The colors look fine and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good and some city-scape shots offer nice depth. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track delivers clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are fairly good, showing some detail and good stereo separation. The bachelorette party scene contains music which introduces very good surround and subwoofer effects. Some of the street scenes also bring notable rear speaker effects.

The Bride Wars Blu-ray Disc contains an assortment of extras. "Something Old, Something New and What That's Gonna Cost You" is a pop-up feature which tells us the price of certain items in the film along with some trivia. The Disc contains seven DELETED SCENES which run about 7 minutes. It's good to see Christian Finnegan getting some work. Other than the alternate opening, most of these are simply longer versions of scenes from the finished film. "Improvisations" (3 minutes) feature alternate takes of two scenes where the actors are allowed to try some different things. "Meet Me at The Plaza" (7 minutes) gives an overview of The Plaza and gives us an impression of what the reality of a wedding there is like. "The Perfect White Dress" (5 minutes) educates us about Vera Wang's influence on the world of wedding dresses. "In Character with Kate Hudson" (2 minutes) "In Character with Anne Hathaway" (3 minutes) are Fox Movie Channel shorts in which the actresses describe their characters. "Man Den" (4 minutes) has the three main actors -- Bryan Greenberg, Chris Pratt, and Steve Howey -- from the film doing some male-bonding. "Maid of Honor" (4 minutes) is a faux interview with Kevin (Michael Arden) as he tries to put the wedding together. "Amanda-cam" (4 minutes) has actress June Diane Raphael giving drunken confessions and speeches.

Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long