Bride Wars

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Bride Wars
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGary Winick
Screenplay by
Story byGreg DePaul
Produced by
CinematographyFrederick Elmes
Edited bySusan Littenberg
Music byEdward Shearmur
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • January 9, 2009 (2009-01-09) (United States)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million[1]
Box office$115.4 million[1]

Bride Wars is a 2009 American romantic comedy film directed by Gary Winick and written by Greg DePaul, June Diane Raphael, and Casey Wilson.[2] The film stars Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway in lead roles, with Kristen Johnston, Steve Howey, Bryan Greenberg and Candice Bergen in supporting roles. In the film, two childhood best friends, who have made many plans together for their respective weddings, turn into sworn enemies in a race to get married before the other.

Bride Wars was theatrically released on January 9, 2009, by 20th Century Fox. The film received negative reviews from critics and grossed a worldwide total of $115.4 million. A Chinese remake of the same name was released in 2015.[3]


Emma Allan and Olivia "Liv" Lerner are childhood best friends who have planned every detail of their weddings, since first witnessing a wedding 20 years ago at the Plaza Hotel. They both have made it a top priority to be married there in June.

While hanging out at Liv's apartment in the present day, they find a Tiffany box hidden in the closet. Both are excited, knowing Liv will soon get a proposal from her boyfriend. That same night Emma's boyfriend proposes to her at home. Liv gets restless waiting for her boyfriend to pop the question and confronts him at his office the morning after Emma's engagement. He had been planning on doing it that night but then asks her on the spot.

Both women start planning and expect to be each other's maid of honor. They schedule a meeting with New York's most famous wedding planner, Marion St. Claire, who tells them there are three spots open at The Plaza in June: Two on the same day and one a few weeks later. They each choose a different day, but due to a clerical error, wind up both scheduled to have their weddings on June 6 (three and a half months later).

They ask the third bride, Stacey, to switch her June 27 date with Emma, but she refuses. Liv fights with her as she is registering for gifts, causing Liv and Emma to be escorted out of the store. After a week of passive-aggressive hostility, it is clear that neither will compromise. Emma's fiancé, Fletcher, begins to be controlling.

The women declare war after a slight misunderstanding that Liv already announced her wedding date, outraging Emma who set her date as well, which Liv discovers at their shared bridal shower. They threaten and insult each other in front of their friends, who decide not to take sides.

Both attempt to sabotage the other's wedding by: Liv changing Emma's dance instructor, Emma secretly sending Liv candy so her dress won't fit, Liv making Emma's spray tan bright orange, Emma changing Liv's hair dye to a shocking blue, Liv registering Emma on Babies R Us and spreading rumors that she is pregnant. So Emma shows up to Liv's invite-only bachelorette party to outdance her.

Emma and Fletcher argue over her maniacal behavior, sabotaging Liv's wedding and their friendship, and how Emma has changed since they first met. The couple undergoes strains in their relationship because of her newfound outspokenness and self-confidence. In contrast, Liv has learned to be more sensitive and expressive. However, her stress about the wedding and strained friendship with Emma causes her demotion at work as an attorney.

Both soon-to-be-brides are shown at the Plaza very shortly before their ceremonies, separately. Right before Liv begins her march to the altar, she gets Emma's father's blessing; she immediately regrets setting up a wild spring break DVD to play at Emma's wedding. She sends her assistant Kevin to replace the DVD with the one filled with childhood memories. Believing it is a prank, he does not do it. Before the brides enter their respective venues, they share a brief moment of reconciliation and smile at each other.

Emma begins walking down the aisle but stops when the footage of her spring break is shown. Losing it, she tackles Liv at her wedding on the other side. Wrestling in their dresses on the floor, they shock the guests, Fletcher, and Emma's parents who are standing in the doorway.

Emma walks over to Fletcher who is upset at her behavior, telling him she is not the same person he fell in love with 10 years ago and that she has changed. With that, they call off their wedding. Liv's wedding resumes after they reconcile. Emma, now Liv's maid of honor, later dances with Liv's brother Nate, a well-known magazine journalist.

A year later, Liv and Emma meet up for drinks, where it's revealed that Emma married Nate. She offers a toast to marriage but Emma says she's not drinking. When Liv says she's not either, they realise they are both pregnant and their due dates are the same: March 3. The best friends squeal with excitement and hug happily.


  • Kate Hudson as Olivia "Liv" Lerner, a successful attorney at Ropes & Gray who is used to getting her way, and won't settle for anything else. She attempts to be perfect instead of taking things lightly, ever since her parents died when she was a child. It was shown that she is protective and extremely caring of Emma.
    • Zoe O'Grady as Young Liv
  • Anne Hathaway as Emma Allan, a middle school teacher who takes care of everyone, but forgets about having some time for herself due to her sweet but slightly meek nature. Liv remarked that she is the one who always "gives in" when they both have conflicts with each other.
    • Shannon Ferber as Young Emma
  • Chris Pratt as Fletcher Flemson, Emma's fiancé. Fletcher is an accountant and the two of them met ten years prior to the film's events. Throughout the film, he is shown to be very controlling, becoming aggravated by Emma's assertive behavior, and begins to have a lot of conflict with her.
  • Steve Howey as Daniel Williams, Liv's fiancé and a hedge fund manager. Unlike Fletcher and Emma, he became closer with Liv during the wedding planning process and embraced his fiancé's changes in her attitude particularly her newly discovered vulnerability.
  • Bryan Greenberg as Nathan "Nate" Lerner, Liv's brother who is in love with Emma.
  • Candice Bergen as Marion St. Claire, New York's most sought-after wedding planner, to whom both women turn when planning their wedding. She also serves as the narrator of the story.
  • Kristen Johnston as Deb Delgado, an obnoxious, lazy woman who is one of Emma's colleagues. She continually unloads her entire workload on Emma. She eventually becomes Emma's maid of honor. She is the one who suggested to Emma that she should fatten Liv with expensive chocolates, and other calorie laden treats.
  • Michael Arden as Kevin, Liv's assistant at work, whom she recruits to be her "Mister of Honor." He gave Liv the suggestion that she should mess up with Emma's dance lessons by replacing her instructor with an eccentric one. He is seen getting romantically involved with Amie near the end of the film.
  • June Diane Raphael as Amanda, a friend of Emma and Liv's who gets married, at the start of the film, but not at The Plaza Hotel, to Emma and Liv's horror. She is shown to be frank and expresses her regret in getting married in comical ways, ending with her getting a divorce by the end of the film.
  • Casey Wilson as Stacy Kindred, another bride and one of Marion St. Claire's clients. Liv and Emma tried to persuade her to give up her date, which ends up in a fiasco in a store.
  • Paul Scheer as Ricky Coo, dance choreographer who calls himself "The Doctor of Dance".
  • John Pankow as John Allan, Emma's dad.
  • Hettienne Park as Marissa, one of Emma and Liv's closest friends.
  • Lauren Bittner as Amie, one of Emma and Liv's closest friends. She is seen getting romantically involved with Kevin near the end of the film.
  • Dennis Parlato as Dance Instructor
  • Billy Unger as Additional voices
  • Colin Ford as Additional voices


Raphael and Wilson completed the shooting script of Bride Wars, from an original screenplay by Greg DePaul,[4] before the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike began.[5] Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith also contributed to the screenplay.[2][5]

Some principal photography took place at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.[6] Most filming occurred in Boston, New York City, and in Salem, Massachusetts.[citation needed]


The score to Bride Wars was composed by Edward Shearmur, who recorded his score with a 77-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox.[7]

In the beginning of the film, the song "Somethin' Special" by Colbie Caillat was played, however this version had different lyrics than the Beijing Olympic Mix, suggesting that it was the original mix. As the film did not have a soundtrack, the original version remained unreleased until Caillat's album Breakthrough was released, where the song appears as a bonus track on the Rhapsody edition.[8] There is also the song "Dream" by Priscilla Ahn and "Scared" by Duffy.


Box office[edit]

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $21.1 million, ranking at number 2 at the box office.[1] It went on to gross $58.7 million in the United States and Canada, $56.7 million in other countries, for a total of $115.4 million worldwide.[1]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 11% based on 147 reviews, with an average rating of 3.50/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Bride Wars takes the already wearisome concept of battling bridezillas, and makes it thoroughly insufferable via a lazy script and wholly detestable characters."[9] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 24 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[10] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[11] Time named it one of the top 10 worst chick flicks ever made.[12]

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times called the film "dopey, if largely painless". She said that Hathaway's presence meant "that there's a little acting in it, along with a few human emotions" and wondered what the film might have been if the writers had explored a potential lesbian subtext suggested by the opening scenes.[13] Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, "How bad can a movie be, with Goldilocks Hudson and Cinderella Hathaway? So excruciating that Hudson's sunshine can't warm it and Hathaway's rose redolence can't mask its stink."[14] Ty Burr of The Boston Globe was disturbed by the film, claiming that it was "...a chick flick that makes its chick characters — and by extension its chick audience — look like hateful, backward toddlers, and there is something wrong with that."[15]

Longtime BBC Radio 5 Live critic Mark Kermode was notably harsh toward the film on his Kermode and Mayo's Film Review show, going so far as to say that he would quit film criticism if Bride Wars did not end up in his list of 10 worst films of 2009.[16] By the end of the year, even when Kermode included Terminator Salvation and Couples Retreat on his list by popular demand, Bride Wars still finished eighth, allowing him to keep his job.[17]

In one of the few positive reviews of the film, Time critic Mary Pols wrote, "At least, and this is something to be grateful for, Bride Wars deviates from the usual wedding-flick routine of maids of honor who should be the bride (or groom). And even though the catfighting goes over the top, the notion that a passionate female friendship can turn ugly in a heartbeat is, sadly, realistic."[18]


The film was nominated for 2 awards at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards: Best Fight (Anne Hathaway vs. Kate Hudson)[19] and Anne Hathaway for Best Female Performance.[20] It also had several Teen Choice Award nominations.[citation needed] Candice Bergen was nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress for her performance in the film.[citation needed]



  1. ^ a b c d "Bride Wars (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 2018-11-01. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
  2. ^ a b Siegel, Tatiana (April 6, 2008). "Bergen hitches "Bride"". Variety. Archived from the original on November 10, 2020. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  3. ^ Lee, Maggie (August 24, 2015). "Film Review: 'Bride Wars'". Variety. Archived from the original on October 5, 2015. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  4. ^ Fleming, Michael (November 12, 2006). ""Bride" nears the altar". Variety. Archived from the original on 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  5. ^ a b Fleming, Michael; Tatiana Siegel (December 6, 2007). "Hathaway hops on "War" path". Variety. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  6. ^ Cassidy, Chris; Tom Dalton (July 25, 2008). "Heard Around Town: The six degrees of Lizzie Borden". The Salem News. Eagle Tribune Publishing Company. Archived from the original on December 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
  7. ^ Goldwasser, Dan (January 14, 2009). "Edward Shearmur scores Bride Wars". Archived from the original on 2009-02-08. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
  8. ^ "Breakthrough". Rhapsody. Archived from the original on 2009-08-24. Retrieved 2010-02-21.
  9. ^ "Bride Wars". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on September 21, 2022. Retrieved September 21, 2022.
  10. ^ "Bride Wars". Metacritic. Archived from the original on September 17, 2020. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  11. ^ "Brides Wars". CinemaScore. Retrieved February 7, 2023.
  12. ^ Romero, Frances (May 26, 2010). "Top 10 Worst Chick Flicks - Bride Wars". Time. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  13. ^ Dargis, Manohla (January 9, 2009). "Two Weddings and a Furor". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 16, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2009. [I]t's too bad that [Winick] doesn't (or can't) venture down the more interesting avenues opened up in the screenplay ... The opener — a gauzy scene from childhood that finds Liv and Emma, dressed as a bride and groom, tenderly dancing with each other — and an adult catfight, which looks like a prelude to a kiss, suggest that there may be more to this friendship (and the fury underlying its rupture) than either the women or the movie can admit.
  14. ^ "Winsome Twosome Turns Gruesome". Archived from the original on 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2005-05-26.
  15. ^ Burr, Ty (January 9, 2009). "Bride Wars Movie Review". Archived from the original on 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
  16. ^ "Mark Kermode threatens to quit over Bride Wars". January 9, 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
  17. ^ Mark Kermode (30 December 2010). BBC Blogs - Kermode Uncut - The Bride Wars Challenge Divorce. Kermode Uncut. Archived from the original on 9 November 2019. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  18. ^ Pols, Mary (January 8, 2009). "Bride Wars: One Bride Too Many". Time. Archived from the original on August 26, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  19. ^ "Best Fight". MTV. Archived from the original on 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  20. ^ "Best Female Performance". MTV. Archived from the original on 2009-05-28. Retrieved 2009-05-17.

External links[edit]