Friday, February 10, 2017

Bride Wars

Year 9, Day 41 - 2/10/17 - Movie #2,541

BEFORE: Kate Hudson carries over from "Dr. T & The Women", a film that ended with a wedding, and it looks like we're headed the same direction tonight.  Sorry if you're expecting me to include "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days", but every man has his limits.  

Coming up on TCM's "31 Days of Oscar" slate for Saturday, February 11:
7:00 AM The Green Goddess (1930)
8:30 AM Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? (1967)
10:30 AM Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)
12:45 PM A Guy Named Joe (1943)
3:00 PM Gypsy
6:00 PM Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)
8:00 PM Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
10:00 PM A Hard Day's Night (1964)
11:45 PM Harvey (1950)
2:00 AM The Harvey Girls (1946)
4:00 AM The Hasty Heart (1950)

Another good line-up, with 5 films that I've seen: "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" (set in San Francisco, part of my around-the-world movie trip from 2012), "Gypsy", "Hannah and Her Sisters" (my favorite Woody Allen film), "A Hard Day's Night", and "Harvey" (which I finally got around to last year).   Another 5 out of 11 moves me up to 53 seen out of 117.  But I don't think I'll fare very well on the films beginning with I through K - and on Valentine's Day I may go 0 for 13.

THE PLOT: Two best friends become rivals when they schedule their weddings on the same day.

AFTER: Once again, I'm shocked by the level of mean-spirited prankery present in a Hollywood romantic comedy.  I thought I was done with this sort of thing last week, after THREE films chose to go this narrative route - "The Other Woman", "What Happens in Vegas" and "Just Married".  By putting romantic partners, or in this case friends, in competition with each other, it seems that gives writers free rein to have them all doing terrible things to each other, which here include (but are not limited to): booking the other's DJ, spreading false rumors, sabotaging a spray-tan session, dying the other bride's hair a weird color, crashing a bachelorette party, sending snack-based gifts to make the other bride too fat for her wedding dress, and ruining the other's reputation by putting incriminating party footage in her wedding montage.  

Unfortunately, I can believe this sort of thing when it comes to women, who (in my experience, anyway) tend to hold grudges for longer periods than men, and generally speaking, can be more vindictive.  So much for the "fairer sex" stereotype.  Men, on the other hand (again, in my experience) are not necessarily more forgiving, but are somehow able to get to a more productive stage of confrontation quicker, whether that's punching each other, having a beer together, settling things rationally, or some combination of all three.  Or they kill each other, but hey, either way, confrontation resolved. 

The main problem here is the set-up for the conflict - once the mix-up takes place, and both brides are scheduled to get married at the same venue on the same day (assuming that the Plaza Hotel can handle two weddings at once, which it apparently can) there is a simple, obvious solution.  Did you spot it?  Yep, have a joint wedding.  Problem solved.  These two are best friends, they have a lot of the same friends, they could share the costs of catering, tux rentals, bridesmaids dresses, etc.  Boom, problem solved.  

Only that solution gets summarily dismissed here - without going into any explanatory details regarding WHY that solution won't work.  If they said, "But I wanted pink bridesmaid dresses, and you want purple..." or "My decor is neo-classical, and you want modern..."  I could even have accepted "But the grooms hate each other..." or "I'm Christian, you're Jewish..." but no attempt to explain is even made - so it's clear that some screenwriter had no interest in simple solutions, or portraying people behaving in any rational manner whatsoever.  If I can solve the problem presented with just a few minutes of simple thought, then the screenplay's conflict is severely flawed.   

This refusal to logically accept the simplest solution therefore means that an alternative ending must be found, and I cannot, in good conscience, condone the nonsensical, bend-over-backwards attempt at a resolution here.  It requires me to accept that even though both women see the error of their vindictive ways, and realize that "an eye for an eye" leaves both parties blinded, it's simply too late to do anything about it.  And this is because money's been spent on two weddings, two DJs, two caterers, two of everything?  Unacceptable.  I think there's footage of the two women's joint friends saying something like, "Well, if this wedding starts to suck, then I'll just slide on over to the other one."  NO NO NO, you can't DO that at a wedding - if you're not there during the ceremony, you have no right to attend the receptionThese women's friends should have beaten them silly until they learned to compromise.  

What's even worse is that there's an attempt to mine some personal growth out of all this "woman's inhumanity to woman".  One bride learns that she's been too controlling and demanding, and this process of being terrible to her best friend has taught her to accept life's little disappointments, and the other one learns that she's been too easygoing and accepting over the years, and this process of fighting with her best friend has allowed her to find her voice and stand up for herself - but either way, these are HORRIBLE morals, because they justify all the savage prankery and ill will among friends!  By rights NO GOOD should come out of their misbehaviors.  

And what good does come is completely contradictory - one bride has a confrontation with her husband, who has (rightfully) disapproved of the terrible, vindictive person she has become.  But she justifies her horrible behavior with the fact that she's now standing up for herself, and getting what she wants.  OK, but it's not the empowered part of her that he's got a problem with, it's the fact that she's been acting like a raging bitch, and she was never like that before.  But I guess once you go bitch, you never go back, and instead of promising to change her ways and actually learn from her mistakes, nope, it's easier to just scrap the whole relationship and start fresh with someone else.  Another horrible moral lesson for the kids at home.    

Also starring Anne Hathaway (last seen in "The Intern"), Chris Pratt (last heard in "The Lego Movie"), Bryan Greenberg (last seen in "Vice"), Steve Howey, Kristen Johnston (last seen in "Music and Lyrics"), Candice Bergen (last seen in "A Merry Friggin' Christmas"), Michael Arden (last seen in "Source Code"), Hettienne Park (last seen in "Young Adult"), Lauren Bittner, with cameos from John Pankow (last seen in "Mortal Thoughts"), Bruce Altman (last seen in "Delivery Man"), Casey Wilson (last seen in "Gone Girl"), Paul Scheer (last seen in "Daddy's Home"), Jon Daly (last seen in "Zoolander 2").  

RATING: 3 out of 10 "save the date" cards 

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