Hollywood just keeps churning them out — those movies that perpetuate America’s obsession with matrimonial mania.
Movies can ruin your life — not Casablanca or Citizen Kane — but romantic nonsense like Notting Hill, You’ve Got Mail and now, the latest shot from the marital crossbow: Bride Wars. Like Madoff, the crazed financial baron, with money, both manipulate information. Check out any rom-com and you’ll find a place where fantasy implodes on contact with reality: The characters are stunning, loaded and enjoy picture-perfect endings. But unless you’re living on Fantasy Island, it’s a long shot. Yes, love is real. So is romance and great sex. But real intimacy, like a good soufflé, takes years to master.
Ironically, Bride Wars isn’t a conventional love story. It’s a love story between two best friends battling to marry at the Plaza Hotel — and there’s only one calendar date available! Crisis! So the two soon-to be-harridans, played by Kate Hudson, Our Lady of the Impeccable Figure, and Anne Hathaway, a doe-eyed waif painting come to life, take it to the streets. It’s like watching a catfight between competing designers — plenty of bitchiness and lots of product placement. You know you’re in trouble when Candace Bergen, as the snooty wedding planner, barks, “You’re dead until your wedding.”
Bride Wars is the anti-buddy film that offers two clueless fiancés, who double as accessories, and single friends, whose response to the impeding nuptials is to overdose on either Ben & Jerry’s or Zoloft. Never mind that releasing this paean to consumption in a recession is tacky. If Bride Wars had been satire, it would verge on smart social commentary. Instead, it embraces all the vapid stereotypes: “You don’t alter a Vera Wang; you alter yourself to fit into a Vera Wang.” Vera’s not capable of a little nip and tuck? If it’s good enough for the faces of the A-list, it should be good enough for their dresses.
I was struck dumb by the film’s stark premise — a wedding is deemed a legitimate life goal, rather than, say, a fulfilling career, while being single is considered a Siberian gulag…for women. (Good-looking men with lucrative jobs rarely pine about their bachelorhood. When was the last time George Clooney moaned about checking “single” on his IRS form?) Bride Wars pushes offensive pre-feminist propaganda —women don’t exist without men. Yet according to relationship experts at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, romantic comedies spell trouble.
In a recent university study, Dr. Bjarne Holmes found rom-coms create unrealistic expectations of love and sex. He told the BBC, “Marriage counselors often see couples who believe that sex should always be perfect.” (Delusional) “And if someone is meant to be with you, then they will know what you want without you needing to communicate it.” (Mega-delusional) “We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media plays a role in perpetuating these ideas in people’s minds.” (Well, duh.)
Could divorce plaintiffs sue Hollywood as a co-respondent?
If moviegoers could sue for sappy, we’d add 27 Dresses to our complaint — with a twist. Like Bride Wars, weddings are viewed as more important than Mideast peace. Here, the bride’s sister (Katherine Heigl) is in love with the groom. She’s so obsessed with weddings, she’s even planning this one! (Does the wedding industry and the psychology therapy community lobby for these films? Both profit from the desperation.) En route, the perpetual bridesmaid meets a handsome cynic who writes wedding stories for an upscale newspaper. His wedding sarcasm is super-refreshing — until the end. Instead of curing her crazy notion, he indulges it. So, they have nothing in common. So what! Neither does the bride and groom
Come on, people! Hudson and Hathaway are single. Turns out, only their fans buy this tripe. The stars know better. They also know to get a pre-nup. See, real life is different from the movies.