Bride Wars (2009)

(On DVD, October 2016) The premise of “Two best friends turn into competing bridezillas!” seems so high-concept that Bride Wars should write itself without trouble, right? And yet, this is a film that seems so unaccountably full of missed opportunities, dull scenes and odd character moments that it often feels that it’s intentionally shooting itself in the foot. The result isn’t terrible, if only for seeing Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway return to basic broad comedy. Some of the comic set pieces are amusing, and the supporting performances by Candice Bergen and Kristen Johnson can be amusing. But as the film advances, blind to more comic opportunities, it also turns gratuitously sour (as per the Emma/Fletcher subplot) and so far-fetched that the seemingly happy conclusion feels unearned—even contrived to be unsatisfying. There are so many obvious ways the story could have turned out without arbitrarily going through its checklist of plot points that the final result seems like a lazy patchwork at best, wholly manipulated at worse. Even for the notoriously lax standards of romantic comedies, Bride Wars seems like a misfire, which is too bad given the premise and calibre of the people involved.

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