I would not recommend this movie, as my one reader would not be a fan of it. Technically, I shouldn’t and am not either. It is curious to watch though.
Essentially, the gender polarities have been subtly changed. This not new, but I like to see the subtlies diverge. As in Sex and the City, Men in Trees and Monster in Law, the hetero male characters are either oblivious princes or mouthy evilmen, with the occassional, ‘not bad but trying to be good’ in between, just as in male-centric media the hetero female characters are either delusional princesses or vitriolic witches, with the occassional ‘not bad but trying to be good’ in between. I really have no objection to this. Really. When it is gender centric plot it is good when a specific choice is made by the writer to do so, rather than trying to prop up a b-plot. Given my druthers, I take well-rounded ensemble any day, but its really apples and oranges.
The plot: due to a misunderstanding, the friends Kate Hudson & Anne Hathaway have weddings on the same day. Hilarity ensues, much along the lines of the opening scenes of the Parent Trap. Horribly dyed hair, too long on the sunbed – prank behaviour, with their prospective spouses getting on fine in the background.
Hathaway plays her usual crouching-mouse, hidden-badass role that we’ve seen before: (Princess Diaries 1&2, Ella Enchanted, The Devil Wears Prada, Becoming Jane Austen etc.) and hey, she plays to her strengths. If you’re going to get type cast it should be to those strengths, and Hathaway has a trick of smiling huge, looking at her shoes and delivering the most heart-breaking line in the film. Then starts a lap-dance rap battle at a strip bar. Marvelous.
Hudson, similarly, plays her usual of Hardass-With-A-Heart of gold. (How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days), and she too can play to her strengths, declaring war on the outside, abhorring it on the inside. To see Kate Hudson cry is to see the tears of an angel, the kind of angel you see in the Bible, principally in the Revelations, holding a sword.
So, in the end, Mousy realises that maybe she has grown apart from who her groom thought she was, while Hardass realises only how much more she needs her future spouse, not everybody marries who they originally intended to. This actually describes more complexity to the male characters than described in the outline above, which is nice, and reason why I actually admit to seeing this film. Also the guy who played Jean Grey’s love interest in Xmen (rejected), and Lois Lane’s love interest in Superman Returns (rejected), finally gets married here. Which is nice. Metaphysically.
As for how qualified I, as a man, am to review ‘chick flicks’; its debatable. For instance: A female friend of mine said the Twlight series is great, but that I, a guy, wouldn’t like it. I read a chapter online once – I didn’t like it. Not that I can’t see how people would like it, but at a basic conceptual and mechanical level, I dislike it. However, I trace this dislike to my cerebellum, not my Y chromosome. Still, I felt somewhat villified on this topic when two female friends shared with me that they shared my dislike of Twilight.
Therefore, my qualifications: The trailer that came up before Bride Wars was for a film called ‘Maybe he is just not that into you’. Not only did I, like the female relative I went to see Bride Wars with, know this title was a quote from Sex and the City, I also could remember the episode. I have since read the advice book it was based on, which was written by the guy who came up with the title line, and have found it a good general advice tome on any type of a relationship with misdirective elements.
I know – I just lost all my man cards.
But – its a best selling advice book for women, written by a guy. And it works beyond relationships.
And that is when Data’s head exploded.
Ultimately, I like things that are well-written, acted and thought out, with or without gender emphasis of any kind. I did Anthropology for a year, and it essentially filed the serial numbers of all my weapons of perception, and left me open to all the media I enjoy, particularly the strange juxtapositions I search, a media plate equivalent of custard and anthracite. A dream team selection of media, (when I have time), (be it audio, visual or both), switches from adult ensemble, female-centric, male-centric, kid-orientated, documentary, mockumentary, dramatisation, space opera, RL with a touch of the fantastic, and so on.
Also, I don’t know if all guys realise this, but the media of women is fairly pornographic. Whether its the magazines in the hairdressers, the corsetted period novels or Sex and the City (its right in the title), shoujo manga Emma (naked, naked, Germans – right when you don’t expect it). Similarly, I don’t like Desperate Housewives because it became mystery-theater action time. (Brie Hobbes pulls me in the odd episode, as does Tom Scavo, but I didn’t really ‘feel’ the whole five years on business.)
So, in summary, Bride Wars is passable and my manliness is strong.
Oh yes. It is as you heard. This film is the retelling of a young man who has won ‘India’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’, and the flashbacks which justify his knowing the answer to each question as he goes along. Tension?
(a) He is retelling this to the fraud squad.
(b) He hasn’t won the ten million ruppee mark as the questioning is going on – He’ll still have to finish it, even if he is cleared by the fraud squad. And either you win everything on this version, or lose everything – you can bow out, but there are no save points.
(c) From the first flashback, we know that all the money in the world isn’t going to fix all the problems of his life.
(d) The fraud squad’s opening interrogation technique uses a car battery.
The story tells us of the death of Jamal’s (protaganist) and Salim’s mother at the hands of religious rioters, their mutual association with the girl Latka (love interest) in the aftermath, the incorporation of all three into a band of beggars, Jamal and Salim’s midnight escape the handlers of those beggars (who were forcibly mutilating their charges), the boys life as train riders, later tour guides, with a return to the city, the rescue of Latka from the risk of prostitution (and the murder of the handler of the band of beggars), the separation of Jamal from Latka and Salim when Salim asserts his manhood, in the face of Jamal’s childishness, Salim becomes a lead enforcer in the gang rivalling that of the man he murdered, the only way to garner protection for all three of them, and they are separated.
And now all three are grown up, with Latka married to and mauled by the rival gang leader, Salim his lead enforcer, and Jamal a teaboy in an outsourced mobile call centre, knowing more about Eastenders than I do. And this game is for all the marbles.
It is a striking film of absurdly, beautifully naive hopes and love doing an everyday business with immodest deception and adultified morals. Its awesome. Set to a soundtrack all its own, set to a background only half-seen previously in Western cinema, and themes of brotherhood and love so old they are in Westerns, Slumdog Millionaire gives me film-based hope for 2009. It let me face up to the trailer of Pink Panther 2, to see beyond to the Star Trek trailer and the Watchmen standies in my local cinema.
And then they all dance at the end. It is written, thus it shall be.