Bride Wars

I’m not sure exactly why I watched Bride Wars. It didn’t look like my cup of tea at all. I believe it was that my sisters loved it, although one of them also loved Twilight, so that should have been a big warning there.

Wars follows the story of lifelong best friends Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) whose boyfriends propose around the same time. From childhood, they both dreamed of having their weddings at the Plaza Hotel, and initially they get dates several weeks apart through wedding co-ordinator Marion St. Claire (Candice Bergen). However, though a mistake of St. Claire’s secretary, they end up getting booked on the same day at the same time. Both women are determined to have their dream wedding, which includes having each other as maid of honour. Neither are willing to give up their place at the highly-coveted Plaza.

They initially try to get the other to back down and accept somewhere less ‘perfect’ and when that fails, they engage in guerrilla warfare to sabotage the other’s wedding. Liv sabotages Emma and her fiancé’s dance lessons and poaches the band she knew Emma had her heart set on; Emma sabotages Liv’s diet by sending her baskets of calorie-loaded goodies (and what’s with this ‘you don’t alter Vera Wang to fit the girl; you alter the girl to fit Vera Wang’ claptrap?) and adds blue dye to her blond rinse. They both planned on having the other as maid-of-honour, but they have to resort to work colleagues that they don’t have much rapport with: Emma chooses a selfish, boozing woman who always dumps her problems on Emma, even during Emma’s wedding; Liv, her I-Thought-They-Weren’t-Allowed-Such-Stereotypes-About-Gay-Men-Anymore-Gay-Assistant. Yep, they’d both rather have maids of honour they don’t get along with than instead of, I dunno, put their friendship above a freaking wedding.

It culminates with Liv replacing the montage of Emma and her fiancé that was intended for their walk down the aisle with a montage of Emma in various drunken states (though to give what passes as credit in this movie, Liv does have a change of heart at the last minute, and it’s her bitchy-to-the-hilt gay assistant/bridesmaid that disregards Liv’s orders). Emma then charges into Liv’s wedding and the two have a brawl on the floor of the wedding aisle, satin and tulle flying.

I swear, I am not making this up. Someone actually made a movie about two otherwise close, long-time friends who turned into bridezillas who tried to sabotage each other’s wedding out of – what, I don’t know. After it had been established that neither of them was giving up their spot, what was sabotage going to achieve? Nothing, I think, except to say that the most intelligent, loyal of women becomes a crazy, vengeful bitch when it comes to her wedding… and that this is funny.

Thankfully, Emma realises that she wasn’t really in love with her fiancé, that they had been in love with the people they had once been, not the people they were today. She and Liv have a heart-to-heart, make up, Liv’s wedding goes ahead and they dance at the reception, both in their (by now somewhat tattered) wedding dresses. Am I alone in thinking that if my best friend had proved themselves capable of such sabotage of a dream of mine (say, a round-the-world trip, which takes about as much money and planning as these dream weddings seem to), I probably wouldn’t want to speak to them again, let alone have made up and be BFFs again hours after the final act of sabotage?

But wait, it gets better. Cut to a year later, and Emma is married to Liv’s brother. They’re both pregnant and hey, isn’t that cute, they’ll have little girls who will be life-long best friends. Yuck. Emma went from leaving a guy at the altar to being married and pregnant to someone else a year later. Most people – or at least I hope so – do a lot of soul-searching after taking such a big step as walking away from a long-term relationship and engagement… they don’t go and get hitched to someone a year later. But that’s not the point, see? The point is that now Liv and Emma are really-and-truly sisters (at least in-laws) and they’ll have two little girls who’ll be BFFs just like them.

So here we have a movie that has childhood best friends who  tear each other apart over their dream wedding, act like it never happened after months of sabotage, and a woman who’s walking down the aisle with one man and married to another a year later… and that all of this is somehow funny.


  1. says

    So ask your sister why she liked it. Maybe it’s funny to her because she knows that the obsession with “the perfect wedding” is *insane*, but she feels it anyway. Female friendship = important, “the perfect wedding” or even the perfect guy = not all it’s cracked up to be.

  2. Anemone says

    I’ve heard nothing but bad about this movie. I’d really be interested in hearing why anyone has liked it, too.

  3. iiii says

    Did none of the characters suggest a double wedding? That seems to me the obvious solution to the hotel double-booking two best friends.

  4. scarlett says

    I hadn’t actually thought of a double wedding. There’s a little sub-plot where the woman St. Claire’s secretary accidentally gave Emma’s spot to – putting Emma and Liv in the same spot – won’t just swap with Emma and the three of them chase each other around a homegoods store. I think the only point of that was to tell us the other woman was just as much a selfish cow when it came to her wedding. It didn’t even make sense. The third woman then got LONGER to plan her wedding as Emma’s spot was earlier. Isn’t that a GOOD thing? (The bookings, mix-up and confrontation are all on the same day, taking place over a couple of hours, I’d say, so it wasn’t like any of them had time to plan anything concrete.)

  5. The Other Patrick says

    I just want to point out that Bride Wars made film critic Mark Kermode issue a challenge: if he sees ten films worse than this in 2009, he’ll quit his job.

    Other than that, you ladies all know how crazy you get when it comes to golden rings, chapels and marches, don’t you? Come on, admit it, you’re just crazy for the bling and downright irrational in your wedding plans. And women? Can be so mean to each other in one second and love each other the next. Must be hormones. Really, I know, I’ve seen it at the movies.

  6. Charles RB says

    It sure is convenient that Emma realised she wasn’t in love with her fiancé, otherwise they might have had to make up while still having clashing weddings. And that could NEVER HAPPEN.

  7. Scarlett says

    Charles, you’re right. God forbid she realise AFTER the wedding and NEITHER of them had gotten to have their perfect wedding with their BFF as maid of honour.

    Patrick – I caught up my my best mate of 20 years after I got my first draft back from my proof reader so she read it and we got to talking about, since neither of us cares THAT much about a wedding, what MIGHT be so important as to behave like that – a round-the-world trip, a dream house, education for any future children… and we couldn’t think of anything that would make us sabotage each other’s dreams, especially given that in this situation, sabotage wasn’t actually going to get them what they wanted – the dream wedding with the other as maid of honour.

    We got bored after about two minutes and started talking about travel plans instead.

  8. Maria V. says

    You forgot the ickiest thing about the end — when they realize that they’ll each be giving birth on the same day and get that maniacal competitive gleam in their eyes.

    I’ll be honest though, and say I liked the movie… mostly because of the growing Hathaway’s character does and the relaxing the Kate Hudson (is that right?) does. I liked that the process of planning a wedding was something that revealed the underlying strengths and weaknesses of their individual relationships, AND that Hathaway’s boyfriend is SO unlikeable by the end. That part where he says that she’s acting bitchy and she’s all, “Ummmm, sometimes I’ll be bitchy or angry or sad and that’s okay. If it’s not okay with you, we have a problem” really stuck out to me as being a more “real” relationship moment than some of the rom-coms I saw that year.

  9. says

    You know, if somebody deliberately takes something from me, even a small thing, and I sense a genuine lack of concern for my well-being or our friendship, I am not unlikely to break off the relationship and never speak to them again. Because you do not fuck with me.

    But when some third party (accidentally or intentionally) pits my friend’s interests against my interests, the first priority in my mind is NOT to let it cause friction between my friend and me.

  10. Robin says

    I couldn’t even bear to watch the trailer for this movie more than once, so I’m not surprised to hear how implausible and bad the whole thing is. I’m currently helping to plan a wedding for two good friends, and nothing remotely like that has happened. Then again, they’re both reasonable people whose actions aren’t dictated by Hollywood ridiculousness. The bride, my roommate (a bridesmaid), and I (maid of honor) were hypnotized into watching several episodes of Bridezillas yesterday afternoon, and were astounded at the behavior of the women featured. And their grooms, for that matter. So far, our biggest concern is that the outdoor ceremony might have to be moved indoors if the New England weather stays this cool for the next two weeks, but no one’s flipping out about it.

    As for the movie, I doubt I’ll ever watch it. I generally enjoy Anne Hathaway, so I don’t want to see her behaving in such horrible, petty ways. Or anyone else, for that matter.

  11. Scarlett says

    I guess there’s a comment awaiting moderation that I got in my inbox, but no, at no point does anyone suggest a double wedding. Not even the mates who are being forced to take sides when just grumbling to themselves.

    Maria, I did actually like the bit with Emma and her fiancee as she grew to realise they had changed and become incompatible, although watching the end, I felt it was largely a set-up to have Emma end up with Liv’s brother (who was, no contest, the most civilised person in the whole movie).

    Jenn, when my best mate and I were having the abovementioned conversation, one of the scenarios we came up with was if a real estate agent showed us the same dream house which only one of us could buy. The conclusion we came to was, dream or not, still just a HOUSE and another one would come along. That, or we would buy it together. There was nothing we could think of where, should our interests be pitted against each other, we would behave like Emma and Liv.

    Something else that came up in that conversation is that Hathaway and Hudson have both been nominated for Oscars. That’s right, you can be a young woman who meets Hollywood’s narrow standards of beauty, you can have critical acclaim… and you still have no better offers than this.

  12. Firebird says

    I have nothing to add to the comments other than I too couldn’t bear to watch the trailers for the movie and couldn’t help thinking…uh…double wedding? Anyway, yesterday at work a woman asked me how to change her name on her account and I asked if she was getting married or divorced – not just making conversation, but because the company actually makes it more difficult if its not a marriage or divorce. When she commented she was getting married with flat tone and sigh usually reserved for getting a divorce, I laughed and said she didn’t seem very excited about it. Turned out all the hassle about weddings and such was becoming more than she wanted to deal with – and she didn’t have anyone fighting her over the wedding space. 😉 Lady after my own heart. She was, however, very excited about her new phone that I sold her.

  13. Daryle Walker says

    I thought that I saw some clip where some guy brought up the double wedding suggestion. One of the two leads countered that double weddings are only for twin sisters. (It’s been months since commercials for the movie were out and I’ve never seen the movie, so I don’t know how accurate I am.)

  14. Scarlett says

    I’ve never heard of that (although, incidentally, it wouldn’t surprise me if the majority of double weddings involve twins)… makes me think that TPTB just made it up and told the actress to say that when they realised they had managed to overlook such an obvious solution to what was already a deeply flawed concept :p

    Firebird, I was bridesmaid a few years ago and just WITNESSING the ridiclous amounts of stress over stuff that I didn’t see mattered made my head hurt. But then, I never understood what all the fuss was over in regards to the school ball, either. The time and effort spent seemed completely out of proportion with the end result.


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