Let Them Eat Cake
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson
By Stella J. Kim
In the world of weddings, there can be no bigger nightmare for a bride-to-be than a bad hair day, an enormous zit, or an incorrect delivery of red roses, when white lilies were specifically indicated. Except in Bride Wars where a new nightmare of having a best friend and maid-of-honor married in the same dream venue, mistakenly scheduled on the same date of the same year at the same time. This is the premise of director Gary Winick’s wedding comedy, Bride Wars, starring romantic comedy go-to girls, Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway as BFFs turned rival bridezillas.
Hudson shines as Liv, an impatient, assertive, and slightly selfish lawyer, who is best friends with Emma (Hathaway), the nice-to-the-point-of-pushover, but sweet and caring teacher. Liv and Emma have been inseparable since childhood, and after seeing a wedding at the Plaza Hotel, they dream of, one day, having a June wedding at the Plaza Hotel. After their respective engagements, the two friends meet with wedding guru Marion St. Claire – the one you want who can make the seemingly impossible wedding possible – skillfully played by Candice Bergen. After a horrible mistake made by St. Claire’s assistant, Liv and Emma are booked for the Plaza Hotel on June 6 at 5:00 P.M. Because of this, the claws come out. Beware future grooms-to-be; this film will whisk you away into the unfamiliar and almost frightening territory of the potentially manipulative and conniving nature of brides-to-be.
Friendship sours into rivalry as Liv and Emma use manipulative tactics to push each others’ buttons – and hilarity ensues. From blue hair (the comment from Liv’s husband-to-be, played by Steve Howey, is charming) too range skin (Emma channels her inner Oompa-Loompa), the two friends turned foes use their precise knowledge of each other’s habits, personalities, and past to create as much chaos and destruction as possible. Meanwhile, the grooms are in the midst of this war, as mere puppets, meant to act as an available and consoling crutch for their women in need. Bride Wars does its job well as a romantic comedy. It takes the audience on a roller-coaster of relatable human emotions, tugging at heart-strings one moment, and splitting sides from laughter the next. The smart and funny dialogue prevents the film from becoming another predictable comedy, and makes the interactions between the couples that much more realistic.
Much of the humor in this film is enacted through the wildness of Liv’s character. As talented as Hathaway is, she can’t seem to break away from the soft, goofy image she created with her breakout role in 2001’s The Princess Diaries. Hudson uses her natural charisma, aura, and star-power to easily win over the audience with her perfected portrayal of a crazed bride, earning more sympathy and laughter, despite the fact that her character is the less-deserving, more selfish one. But both actors complement each other well, with their different styles and personalities.
Supporting actors contribute greatly to the performances of both Hudson and Hathaway as well. Newcomer Michael Arden works well with Hudson, feeding from her energy to carry his own character as Liv’s devoted and conscientious assistant Kevin, who performs the malicious actions dictated to him by Liv, while faithfully fulfilling his duties as her “mister of honor.” Kristen Johnston effortlessly portrays Deb, Emma’s obnoxious and self-involved co-worker/maid of honor, allowing for even more entertaining quips and giggles. With a fun and upbeat flow, Bride Wars addresses the bonds of friendship and love that only women can fully appreciate. This film will not likely fare too well with the male audience, who will likely cringe through the complaints of the women, sympathize with the poor grooms, and dread the day when they, too, will be standing at the altar for a lifetime of wedded bliss. But both men and women will enjoy the crazy antics and up-and-down emotions and excitements that both Liv and Emma exude throughout the film. Bride Wars is not the next runner-up film for an Oscar nomination, but it is an enjoyable comedy, dealing with true feelings and real relationships, and will leave the female audiences with the desire to fall in love, get engaged, and purchase this month’s current bridal magazine.