The Great Unmade Michelle Pfeiffer Romcom: Kiss the Bride (1993)

This one falls squarely in the Pfeiffer completist column. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad film, per se. It’s definitely one of the least lauded in the Pfeiffer pfilmography, but I can’t deny my affection for it. In Kiss the Bride, Michelle plays Sadie Sedgewick, a reclusive romance novelist who lives in a Long Island mansion.The film begins with the dulcet tones of Meg Ryan, narrating over home video footage of a kiss between newlyweds. Because the shot is contrived to conceal the face of the bride, you know immediately that there is a reason for this. Could it be that the filmmakers thought people would be delighted at the wonderful surprise they are concealing for the last shot?Written by Nora Ephron and and directed by Garry Marshall, Kiss the Bride wakes up at the exact moment when the Pfeiffer charactor, introduces her publicist, girl-next-door Rita Psaki (Meg Ryan), to her bookish editor Ben (Alec Baldwin). Why does she do this? Well, otherwise there wouldn’t be a role for Meg, playing the innocent beauty who truly doesn’t realise how beautiful she is.Once Alec and Meg get engaged, Michelle has a moment of heartfelt dismay and realises she too is in love with Baldwin. This is a basic story formula that was trite and banal long before Meg & Michelle were even born. The film uses flashback voiceover by Ryan to chart the progress of the three-way romantic tug of war that led to the nuptials. Baldwin is besotted with both women. Which one will he choose?If the scholarly Baldwin and radiant Ryan appear an unlikely match made in heaven, the movie explains their attraction as love at first sight–a love so strong that Alec removes his glasses when he first sets eyes on Meg, and never wears them again. Alec and Meg do have a nice chemistry, nevertheless, Pfeiffer may be the true heart of the picture, as a lovelorn littérateur who finds her world turned upside down by the love of two relative strangers.It is refreshing to see Michelle playing a character with quirks and insecurities and a capricious attitude to love. I really like the way Pfeiffer handled the seminal sex scene, where her look of pure joy and carnal satisfaction at the end is equaled only by Ryan’s reaction on discovering Baldwin has been unfaithful.All this leads up to the twist at the end, involving an answering machine, an unsent letter and bittersweet irony. There is one crucial scene between Pfeiffer and Ryan that feels all too personal, the tension between the two recalling the feud between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Maybe Kiss the Bride was as much a duel for the throne of Hollywood as a tale of affairs of the heart.


Filed under Fantasy Film

5 responses to “The Great Unmade Michelle Pfeiffer Romcom: Kiss the Bride (1993)

  1. I so want to read the whole plot on this one.. you have me intrigued.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post 🙂 Okay Paul, here is my question for you : would you fancy to read a book about the making of the film given that it is the least lauded of Pfeiffer’s films? Who knows, maybe it was a troubled production? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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