Even after giving Bride Wars every benefit of the doubt, the nicest thing to say about it is that Kate Hudson's hair looks fantastic. The dueling-brides premise, of which you are aware if you've seen the trailer (which functions more as tidy synopsis than teaser, it turns out, as the lengthier version provides no additional edification) is insultingly out of touch with any version of the modern woman I care to acknowledge, much less identify with.

Wars pits lifelong best friends Liv (Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) against each other as they prepare for their weddings—which through a snafu, are scheduled on the same day, at the same venue. In the process, each evolves into a despicable, shallow, bratty Bridezilla, too stupid and stubborn to forge a compromise out of respect for their friendship. This film might have had a prayer of being salvaged were there any decent supporting characters (Kristen Johnston makes a wan effort as Emma's awful coworker and maid of honor stand-in), an unexpected or redemptive plot twist, or even a show-stopping array of wardrobe eye candy. Alas, it's nothing more than phoned-in performances all around (including Candice Bergen as the wedding planner), with a script so shockingly uncreative that it fails to justify its three writers' presence on the payroll.

Despite the fact that Bride Wars is synched to coincide with the onset of wedding planning season, its timing couldn't be worse. The usually likeable Hudson and Hathaway are squandered in an embarrassingly out-of-step lemon of a flick, in which materiality and bitter competition hold sway over decency and maturity. The fact that these characters have productive roles in society (Emma is a teacher, Liv a high-powered lawyer) seems unlikely in proportion to their childishness and greed. It's a mindset that might hearken back to the subconscious nihilism of the past decade's darkness, but which clashes with the current zeitgeist of resolve and renewed virtue. The only funny moment in the entire film is unintentional, when it is obliviously mentioned that Liv's fiancé, with whom she lives in carefree opulence, is a hedge fund manager. It's a detail that perfectly illustrates how firmly Bride Wars lives in a world that has been left behind, and for the better.