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Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009 01:32 am

Don’t bother to RSVP to Bride Wars

Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway star in Bride Wars.

One of the basic elements needed to make a successful movie is to have characters who are likable or dynamic in some way. I know this sounds like an elementary thing but those involved in the making of Bride Wars must have been absent for that lesson on the day they covered it in Movies 101. Liv and Emma (Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway) are two best friends who end up having both of their weddings scheduled on the same day at New York’s posh Plaza Hotel. (Only in the movies, right?) Seeing as this has been a goal for both of them since they were little girls, this causes a major rift as neither will change their date and each goes to great lengths to sabotage the other’s plans.

Both of these women are as deep as puddles and their behavior throughout would be deplorable in teens, let alone grown women. The miracle here is that anyone would want to marry either of them after what they do. The fact that one of the grooms does decide to call things off makes him the smartest one in this group of dullards. Hudson continues her downward spiral (five bucks to the person who can name her last good movie), while Hathaway proves that even she can’t elevate a bad script. More than anything, Bride Wars fosters negative female stereotypes and underscores the notion that the single life is the way to go.

Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway star in Bride Wars.

Truth be told, Last Chance Harvey is not a very good movie. It has very few surprises, contains more than a few unrealistic moments and employs some shameless physical humor. Yet, there’s so much chemistry generated between the film’s two leads that it’s easy to dismiss its faults. Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson are two middle-aged singles who’ve come to accept their lonely lot in life, not necessarily happy about it but accepting of the fact that they may be forever alone. How unexpected it is then that they should brush aside their reservations and decide to take another chance on love.

Well, it isn’t all that unexpected as writer/director Joel Hopkins foreshadows nearly the entire plot. Still, Hoffman and Thompson make this pedestrian exercise bearable and, at times, downright entertaining. This screen duo knows how to make a cinematic silk purse out of a sow’s ear of a script as they connect with one another in a genuine way, even though the plot they’re stuck in is as phony as a three-dollar bill. Watch these two edge towards making the big leap and you won’t find a false moment between them. Had Hopkins been able to duplicate this in his writing, Last Chance Harvey would have been something truly special instead of a vehicle enjoyed only by the fans of its two stars.

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