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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this comedy, while mildly amusing and generally age-appropriate for older tweens (who are sure to want to see it), plays up stereotypes about women with its emphasis on shopping, consumerism, and conflict between friends. The main characters are fairly two dimensional, and they seem much more caught up in having the perfect wedding than in having a strong marriage. That said, the language is mild ("ass" and the like), and the sexuality is on the milder side (kisses, a brief glimpse at a bra and panties as a character changes) -- though a bachelorette party scene includes shirtless male strippers. There is a notable amount of drinking (tequila shots, especially), and prominently featured brands include the Plaza Hotel, Apple, Tiffany, and Vera Wang.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Best friends since childhood, middle-school teacher Emma (Anne Hathaway) and high-powered attorney Liv (Kate Hudson), share one common dream -- a June wedding at Manhattan's storied Plaza Hotel. When both women get engaged the same week, they immediately hire the city's best-known wedding planner (Candice Bergen) to secure two dates in June. All is satin and lace until the brides-to-be discover that the Plaza accidentally booked both of their weddings for the same date -- meaning that one of them has to switch her venue, or they'll be hosting competing nuptials (guess which way things go?). For most of the movie, the lifelong BFFs turn into archrival bridezillas out to sabotage each other's weddings while their fiancés (Chris Pratt and Steve Howey) sit around looking helpless and confused.
Is it any good?
BRIDE WARS is more of the same romcom fluff that Hudson -- whose career high is still her early, Oscar-nominated role in Almost Famous -- has been stuck in since How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Hathaway, however, has been getting more acclaim thanks to roles in grittier fare like Rachel Getting Married, so it's hard not to consider this wedding flick a major step down. Not that the target audience -- young girls and engaged women -- will care. Weddings and all their myriad details -- fondant cakes, designer gowns, letter-pressed invitations, personalized everything -- are a huge obsession for many women, and bridal junkies in the audience will definitely get their fix.
For what it is -- a 90-minute reverie for young girls who dream of the "perfect" (read: super expensive) wedding -- the movie does provide some laughs (like the scene portraying how Liv and Em's still-unmarried friends take the news of their double engagement), and even a message. Just what that message is, however, is debatable. On the one hand, there's the obvious idea that a wedding is worthless without the right groom and your best friend by your side. But there's also an inescapable sense that a wedding (or the marriage that follows it) isn't quite worth it unless it comes packaged in Tiffany blue.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the movie portrays its two main characters -- why do they make their weddings into such a big deal? Why can't they just have two separate ceremonies in different places?
What did trying to have a dream wedding cost Emma and Liv -- emotionally and financially? Is it a good message to send girls that everyone "deserves" a fancy wedding at the Plaza? Why are weddings such a big deal in general?
What role does the media play in making us think that the wedding is as important as the marriage?
Parents, talk with your tweens about what a wedding really signifies -- and what happens after the big day. The bachelorette party scene might also prompt a discussion about stripping. What's the appeal? Why does it play such a prominent role in movies/TV shows about bachelor and bachelorette parties?
- In theaters: January 9, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: April 28, 2009
- Cast: Anne Hathaway, Bryan Greenberg, Kate Hudson
- Director: Gary Winick
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: suggestive content, language and some rude behavior
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.