Brides batter the battlefront

Shreya Shankar

"Substance" will never be a buzzword for "Bride Wars," a tale of frenzied and often morally unsound competition between a pair of ex-best friends.

The best way to truly appreciate "Bride Wars," which opened on Jan. 10, is to suspend one's understanding of reality, character, common sense, and reason. The moment one begins to question the tiniest flaw in anything—like how Emma (Anne Hathaway), a downtrodden and worn-out teacher, could somehow afford expensive designer pieces from Vera Wang and Marc Jacobs, for example—the meticulously crafted reality of the movie unravels. To the blank-minded and mentally drained viewer, the movie might come as a blessing as it passes time in a more or less harmless and upbeat manner, forcing one not to think or react too strongly, in case the fragile plot falls apart.

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Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway star in ‘Bride Wars’. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox Distribution.

The movie begins painlessly enough with two best friends happily dreaming up their wedding day. Little do the naive little girls know that it will be their respective weddings that tear them apart.

Both girls dream of lavish white weddings at The Plaza, a luxurious New York City landmark. This is all good and well, until the girls decide their weddings must be in June. The first day of July is out of the question. The last day of April is definitely out. The wedding must be in June. This becomes the root of the problem when wedding season comes around—The Plaza is only free for one day in June. For some reason, the women simply cannot have a joint wedding—I had to suspend my common sense and reason for a while here—and since they definitely cannot find a different Chosen Month, the premise of the movie is secure and the battles ensue.

Continuing its imposition of a shiny, one-dimensional reality upon the viewer, the NYC setting paints a misleadingly pristine and almost suburban picture of the gritty city, making the backdrop glamorous yet forgettable. Similarly, the men of the film, save for Liv's (Kate Hudson) seemingly gay accomplice, are also portrayed as nothing more than life-sized posters nailed to the wall. This leaves the audience's attention with nowhere to go except toward the stereotypical, immature protagonists. And with nothing else to look to in the movie, immersing oneself in the characters of Hathaway and Hudson for nearly an hour and a half gets to be a little too close for comfort.

"Bride Wars" is caught somewhere between a grown-up's fairytale and a tragic New Yorker's version of "The Princess Diaries," likening it more to a pillow fight than an actual war. Unfortunately, even pillow fights have casualties. And unless you're having a giddy girls night, you're likely to be one of them.