Sample Film and Theater Studies Essay Paper on Remake of Bride Wars (Gary Winick, 2009)

Introduction

Bride Wars is an American romantic comedy film written by Casey Wilson, Greg DePaul and June Raphael and directed by Gary Winick. The film stars renowned actors such as Kate Hudson, Kristen Johnston, Anne Hathaway, Chris Pratt, Steve Howey and Bryan Greenberg. It’s story line encompasses a rivalry that is born when two best friends find that their respective weddings had been accidently booked for the same day. In as much as the film encompassed some of the best actors in the movie industry, it still flopped and didn’t gunner favorable ratings. This paper encompasses an expostulation and a remake of the film.

The plot of the original film

In this film, Olive ‘Liv’ Lerner and Emma Allen are best friends who have been planning for their respective weddings since twenty years ago after witnessing a grand wedding at Plaza Hotel. The two of them have made it a priority to get married at the same venue in June. Fate has it that the two friend get engaged when they are age twenty six respectively and are to be each other’s maid of honor.  They schedule their respective weddings with Marion St. Claire, a famous wedding planner but due to a clerical mistake, their respective weddings are scheduled for the same day which is due in three and a half months later. Due to this mistake, a passive hostility develops between the two friends before they finally make it clear that none of them is willing to compromise especially when the stubborn Liz hopes that Emma, who has always had a passive nature will end the wait. However, Emma is unrelenting and even refuses to hold a double wedding with Liz. What follows is a series of sabotage attempts propagated by the two friends against each other till the end of the film.

Assessment of how identity categories such as race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and/or disability are depicted in the film

Sexuality

The film assumes an extremely nonchalant attitude towards premarital sex. In the plot of the film, we see that both couples live together even before getting married. In addition to this, some scenes show each couple kissing and sharing a bed. Throughout the film, the women are shown to be wearing cleavage revealing tops, short skirts, tight shorts or low cut wedding gowns. At one scene, Liv is seen lounging nonchalantly in a pair of midriff-baring pajamas and later on in a bra and panties. In yet another scene, we observe a situation whereby the girls are in a male strip club where a bachelorette party is taking place. At this particular strip club, some muscular men disrobe and dance with nothing but their briefs.

The above nonchalant stance towards premarital sex could be due to the contemporary western culture in which the film is featured and which is propagated by the western media. Studies have shown that perceptions towards sex have been changing with time and hence the once held notion of abstaining from sexual intercourse till marriage seldom applies in modern days. In addition to this, the cats of the film is confident with their sexuality. This aspect is ascertained by the easiness with they are able to reveal their bodies to each other and to the viewers. In this case, the sexuality depicted in the film can be identified with Hollywood or the Americanized culture whereby couples move in together even before marriage.

It is also observed that the movie seems to send negative body images to women and hence seems to identify with contemporary perceptions of physical beauty. Some characters are heard saying phrases such as; “You don’t alter Vera to fit you. You alter yourself to fit Vera” which means that a Vera Wang wedding dress was so precious such that it couldn’t be changed to fit a bride but rather the bride had to change her body to fit into the gown. This approach sends the inappropriate message that a designer wedding dress is more important than the bride’s body and that she would rather starve herself so as to fit in it and hence portray the perfect bride in a perfect gown.

Finally, the film is greatly lacking in sexual diversity, an aspect which can be traced to the New York culture in which the plot is set. Every character is able bodied and is portrayed as cis. It is also observed that there is a great lack of any aspect of same-sex marriages for a movie which centers on marriage and wedding planning. As such, the film shows heterosexism, maybe due to the fact that same-sex marriages were still illegal in New York when the movie was released. This is quite a disappointment to the contemporarily viewer who would be interested to watch the controversies which come with some characters having different sexual orientations.

Gender

The American society is keen on gender balance. Since the film is an American one, it borrows the identity of gender balance from the society in which it depicts. Careful analysis of the film shows that there is gender balance in different elements of the film. First, the film’s cast comprises of both men and women in a balanced manner. However, since the main actors are women, the dominant gender in this films seems to be the female gender. In addition to this, the sexual scenes shown in the film such as showing off of body parts or engagement of sexual activities encompasses both men and women. Mostly, sexual scenes encompass the two couples kissing their respective partners while showing off of body part for ladies is shown in a scene whereby Liv is seen lounging in a pair of midriff-baring pajamas and later on in a bra and panties whereas the same is repeated for men at the male strip club whereby muscular men disrobe and dance in their briefs hence showing off their nudity both to the other casts and to the viewer.

The early fixation with weddings as shown by Emma and Liv ultimately shows the presence of gender socialization which is an aspect of gender that is heavily influenced by the media. In this case, gender socialization encompasses the process of understanding the rules and norms of one’s gender via observations of how others interact in a given society. In this case, the girls’ interests and ideas on what constitutes a perfect wedding were learned from seeing a bride getting married at the Plaza and from media outlets which play a hegemonic role. As such, when a mix-up messes up their plans for their perfect wedding which is set on a perfect date; June 6, none of the two ladies is willing to compromise on their date at the Plaza.

Class

The film is set on the high end society. As such, it depicts an expensive lifestyle which can be comfortably be afforded by the rich. The setting of the film encompasses high end hotels as id depicted by the choice of wedding ground by the two couple, Plaza Hotel. In addition to this, we see the actors taking lots of expensive alcoholic drinks such as tequila shots. In addition to this, prominent brands such as Vera Wang, Tiffany and Apple. The obsession with this type of social class can be identified with the consumerism spirit that is prominent in the 21st century. Since the film is set in an urbanized setting, it can also be the reason whereby it takes such approach towards the high end social class that it depicts. As such, the film best aligns with a modern urbanized viewer who can identify with the film.

In the analysis of how class is portrayed in the film, it can be seen that diversity is lacking. The characters seem to be coming from the same social class. In addition to this, the characters seem to possess the same characteristics hence the viewer isn’t able to pick prominent differences in the cast. This issue could have been addressed by having people with significantly different approaches to life such as having characters with different backgrounds or even having an interesting in-story whereby some of the characters were secretly in same sex relationships.

Race and ethnicity

In as much as the film doesn’t encompass any race inappropriate aspects such as racial discrimination or race-inappropriate languages, the actors are predominantly Caucasian. In this case, there isn’t a balance in the race of the actors. To an extent, the film is so focused on its white female brides such that no other characters are able to play significant roles. Other than one Asian character whose role is a minor one, the film’s cast is completely white. In this case, the choice of the cast could be due to the setting of the fil which was New York City which has been termed to be predominantly white. As such, the lack of racial diversity brings in some monotony in the film and can even lead to the storyline of the film not being identifiable with other races.

Media influence

Most notions propagated by the film seem to be emanating from media influence. The picture of the perfect wedding held by the two brides is media-influenced especially on the aspect of the wedding having to take place on a certain place and on a specific date. The notion that a bride has to be thin so as to fit on a wedding dress also seems to be a perception that is heavily propagated by the media. The body shaming attitude which encompasses seeing fat people as ugly is portrayed in the scene in which Emma secretly sends Liv candy so as to make her too fat to fit into her wedding dress. The image of the perfect bride that is encouraged by the media is that one of a thin person who can easily fit into a Cinderella-like dress. As such, media influence is depicted as having a great impact on the characters and on the decision that they make. In essence, the storyline of the film encompasses the hegemonic shallow perceptions that the media shows about weddings and marriages.

Summary of my film and proposed changes

Proposed change to the plot

In the new film, Olive ‘Liv’ Lerner and Emma Allen will still be best friends who have the same perception on what constitutes a perfect wedding and a blissful marriage. However, Liv will come from a humble background while Emma will come from a wealthy background. In addition to this, Liv will have to be more beautiful to compensate for her lack of money and will show signs of personal success while Emma’s success will be based on the success of her family. The two friends will be engaged on the same day but at different locations to their respective fiancés hence none will be aware that the other person got engaged since both engagements will be done as secret affairs. Unknown to both Liz and Emma, their fiancés will be in a secret same sex relationship and will only be marrying due to pressure exerted on them from their parents. However, Liv’s fiancé will be truly in love with her while Emma’s fiancé will be after her for her wealthy background. Just like in the original film, the two ladies will schedule their respective weddings with Marion St. Claire, a famous wedding planner and due to a clerical mistake, their respective weddings will be scheduled for the same day. A passive hostility will develop between the two ladies before they finally make it clear that none of them is willing to compromise. Unknown to the two ladies, as they fight each other, their two fiancés who are now aware of the wedding plans will still be carrying out their same sex relationship secretly. The two ladies will go at each other and fight until one day rumors start to circulate that their fiancés are homosexuals. At this point, both ladies will confront their fiancés. Since Liv’s fiancé will be in love with her, he will confess to his relationship with Emma’s fiancé and blame it on peer pressure from his friends whereby most of them will be homosexuals. Liz will tearfully forgive him and proceed with her wedding plans since she won’t want anything to stand between her and her marriage. However, Emma’s fiancé will not react well to the allegations and will try to kidnap Emma and hold her at a ransom but will be arrested by the police. This turn of events will disrupt the wedding plans for both ladies and Liz will cancel her grand wedding to sympathize with her friend. At the end of the day, Liz will marry her fiancé at a low key wedding whereby Emma will be present and will be happy for her friend despite the things that she has passed through.

Proposed changes

My remaking of the film will encompass making some changes on various aspects of the original film. First, I will include more diversity in the film’s cast. As such, I will include different races in the cast such as several whites, several blacks and several colored individuals. This approach is made to break the monotony of the cast being comprised of only one race. I will also include an aspect of diversity in the social classes portrayed by the film. As such, there will be an interaction between the poor and the rich and the issues that come with such interactions.

The issue of sexuality will be addressed to ensure that the film communicates a comprehensive message on it. As such, nudity will be mild and only done to elicit the interest of the audience. In addition to this, there will be mild and appropriate sexual scenes which will encompass both heterosexual and homosexual relationships.  The nonchalant attitude taken towards premarital sex by the original film will also be dropped since sexual activities will be depicted to be taking place in secret. For a film that talks about marriage and weddings, it would be interesting to encapsulate in it the issue of same sex marriages which are a hot topic in our modern society.

The aspect of media influence will also be addressed in the new film. In this case, other factors will come into play such as society expectations. As such, the ladies’ fiancés will be pressurized to get married against their wish by their respective families. Family values will play a part in the ladies’ desire to get married and at the end of the day, the wedding that will take place will be a low key one hence ending the misconception that a wedding has to be grand and expensive for it to be perfect.

In essence, the new film greatly challenges the patterns of representation that shape our social and cultural understanding of identity. The storyline will be changed from one whereby two brides are merely fighting over a hotel to one which encompasses conflict of values. The new film will also have an ending which will seek to dispel the media notion of what constitutes a perfect wedding by ending with a low key but a happy wedding scene. In addition to these changes, more racial and sexual diversity will be encapsulated in the new film whereby it will strive to show why some people might have a certain sexual orientation which might not auger well with the society in which they live.

Proposal to merchandising tie-in related to the film

Proposal to Nickelodeon animations

This is to inform you that we made an interesting remake to the film Bride Wars. Unlike the original film which flopped on the box office and failed to gunner impressive reviews, the remake is interesting, encompasses a complex storyline, more drama and entails more diversity. In addition to this, the storyline of the film has been mildly altered so as to be more interesting to the contemporary movie-watcher. It is also noted that, the new film also encompasses higher quality than the original one since it has been edited with superior technology. As such, the new film is expected to be a hit in the box office and will encompass more revenues.

We are therefore proposing and offering your studio to take this opportunity and create an animation film of the new film. Taking this action will lead to the film having a larger viewer base since the people who love animations as well as young teenagers/children will get to see the film in its animated form. As such, the animation will make the film to be more popular and appealing to a wider customer-base while the animated film will also benefit from the film’s popularity.  In this case, it will be a win-win situations for your company and ours since we will benefit by the licensing funds that you will pay to us while you will earn from the funds which will be raised by your animated film. In addition to this, we willing be willing to settle for a conducive agreement which will ensure that your benefits of investing in our film are worth the efforts. It is therefore our hope that you will consider this opportunity to work with us. Thanks.