It's a cliché that all women want a June wedding. It's also a cliché that the movie studios treat January like a dumping ground for bad movies. Bride Wars manages to fuse these stereotypes because it offers a portrait of ferocious female desire for the perfect wedding date, and also provides ample proof that the first month of the year is the time for forgettable movies. The movie stars Kate Hudson as Type A lawyer Liv and Anne Hathaway as eager-to-please elementary teacher Emma, lifelong best friends who both have dreamed of June weddings at New York City's ritzy Plaza Hotel since a trip there together as kids. When their boyfriends propose within days of each other, Liv and Emma pay a mutual visit to the world's most respected wedding planner, Marion St. Claire (Candice Bergen), who informs them that the Plaza is only available for one day in June. Since neither refuses to give up their ideal vision of the perfect wedding, and won't even consider a dual wedding, the onetime BFFs spend months doing everything within their power to destroy the other's plans.
All in all, that's not a bad premise for a lightweight chick flick, but director Gary Winick and an army of three screenwriters can't come up with a single fresh comedic idea. We're supposed to find it uproariously funny that Liv sabotages Emma's pre-wedding tanning session so that she resembles a pumpkin, and we're supposed to be just as amused that Emma gets her revenge by secretly giving Liv's hair blue highlights. And such stale bits might have worked if we thought their friendship was real, but the movie never establishes their relationship beyond the most trite, sitcommy means; their supposedly deep bond seems to exist solely because they squeal at the same things.
Surprisingly, there is one element that does work: the girls' relationships with their fiancées. The ongoing war between the ladies -- as well as all the normal stress involved in planning a wedding -- begins to take a toll on each of the couples, and the way each pair responds to those challenges provides a level of depth between each of the couples that's missing from the central friendship. Sadly, the movie keeps these scenes to a minimum, probably because the filmmakers -- not to mention the studio -- are aiming for a young female audience, and decided that the boys don't really matter. For a movie about the most unforgettable day in a young woman's life, Bride Wars is thoroughly forgettable.