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Bride & Prejudice
DVD disk
07.27.2005 By: Quigles
Bride & Prejudice order
Director:
Gurinder Chadha

Actors:
Aishwarya Rai
Martin Henderson
Nadira Babbar

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Hollywood meets Bollywood in this update of the classic novel, Pride and Prejudice. The story plays out like so; an eager Indian mother tries to wed her four daughters as quickly as possible, but Lalita wants to marry for love over wealth and class. She soon meets a wealthy, first-class individual by the name of Will Darcy, who she finds stuck-up, arrogant, and closed-minded. This being a romantic comedy, Iíll give you three guesses how the movie finishes.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I have never read Jane Austenís Pride and Prejudice, but considering how popular it is, I have no doubt in my mind that this take on the story was dumbed down to great lengths. Nothing even remotely shocking happens during the near 2-hour runtime, and all of the characters are completely one-dimensional. At times BRIDE & PREJUDICE transcends the formulaic romantic comedy genre, but those moments seem to stem from the original story. There are also quite a few subplots, which are as equally unexciting as the main plot. Throughout these several stories, a lot seemed to be happening, but at the same time, nothing was happening at all, and by the 90-minute mark, I just wanted all the ďnothingĒ to end. The two-leads do just fine with their roles, especially the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Rai, but their chemistry feels all wrong. To make matters worse, the overall demeanor of the movie seems fluffy, pointless, and even a little sloppy.

The question you may be asking yourself here (but probably not) is, does this film do anything right? Yes, actually. The saving graces here donít sound too important from afar, but when the movie had finished, they were what actually made me enjoy it. The two highlights, for me at least, are the leading actress Rai (who, had she had a nude scene, would have earned the movie an easy five stars) and the Bollywood-style song/dance numbers. A large grin grew across my face each time the spontaneous outbreak of singing commenced. Each and every number really adds some much needed spice to the formulaic tale. The music seems to come to a halt about half way through, but the colorful and vibrant scenery more than makes up for it, with wonderful settings shifting from Bombay to London to New York to Los Angeles. From a visual standout, this flick is breathtaking. The other main attraction of the movie is the clash of cultures, which is also what made BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM such a treat. I wish a little more substance had come out of this aspect of the film, but regardless, it still kept things interesting. So, despite my many groans and complaints about the tired and constantly recycled story, the movieís vigorous use of music, settings, and cultural differences really helps it push past being a throwaway romantic comedy.
THE EXTRAS
There are quite a number of special features, none of which are particularly noteworthy, but should make for some great fun for fans.

Commentary (with the director and writers): There are many moments of dead-air, but when the three are talking, information and tidbits are spilled frequently. Itís mostly Chadha (the director) speaking, which is good because sheís the most interesting one.

Deleted Scenes (10:18): There are six of them. The majority of them just build on what has already been said, so itís good that they were cut. Strangely absent are a few scenes I heard mentioned in the commentary.

Extended Songs (22:44): There are four of them. These were cut down for the non-India release, but only one is very noticeably different. There is different variation of ďThe Marriage SongĒ, which contains a bit of sorely needed substance concerning the sisters.

The Making of ďBride & PrejudiceĒ (10:56): Exactly what youíd expect from a standard making-of featurette, if not a little more enlightening than most. Itís brief, but the time is spent well, with plenty of interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.

A Conversation With Aishwarya Rai (8:19): Iím going to be honest here Ė I didnít hear half of what she said because I couldnít stop ogling her. She seems to be fairly intelligent and interesting, but I canít help but consider her eye candy more than anything.

A Conversation With Martin Henderson (4:30): Harumph. Henderson, unfortunately, does not make for good eye candy, and as such, I actually had to listen to him. Heís not very interesting, to say the least.

Ashantiís Song (2:55): Iím very glad they included this extra, because without it, I would have thought the addition of Ashanti was a shameless attempt to get an audience. The director explains all, and I gave a sigh of relief.

The Crew Does The Songs (4:52): This could have made a good Easter Egg. Itís basically five minutes of the crew doing the same song and dance number from the beginning as actors.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
It may just be that this isnít my type of movie, but BRIDE & PREJUDICE was just a little too dull and predictable for my liking. I did, however, find great joy with the wonderful settings, as well as the great song and dance numbers. The clash of cultures really help keep the movie interesting. And as a plus for guys, Aishwarya Rai is quite possibly the second most beautiful woman on this planet (the first of course being Jessica Alba). I think people that watch this movie will know what theyíre in for, so as long as the expectation of any actual substance is exempt, they should be content with a rental.
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