Picks and Pans Review: Bride Wars

updated 01/19/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/19/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST

Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Johnston, Candice Bergen, Bryan Greenberg | PG |

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It may not be the highest of praise, but Bride Wars is far easier to sit through than one would suspect based on its grating TV ads and movie trailer. The modest pleasures the comedy offers are due primarily to a lovely, tremulous performance by Hathaway and occasional welcome flashes of wit that sneak through in the script. A slick chick flick through and through, Wars follows the escalating battle of wills between two lifelong BFFs—ambitious lawyer Liv (Hudson) and elementary school teacher Emma (Hathaway)—after a chichi wedding planner (Bergen, regally gliding through) accidentally double-books their respective nuptials for the same day and hour at Manhattan's Plaza Hotel.

Watching Hathaway and Hudson go womano a womano is edifying. Hathaway beautifully conveys subtext, subtly revealing Emma's conflicted emotions through flickering facial expressions and an endearing gawkiness. But Hudson just plays cute, delivering her lines with ba-da-boom snap; she never ventures beneath the surface. Whatever the movie's ending, Hathaway handily wins this Wars.

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