Bride and Prejudice
By any measure atrocious, Bride and Prejudice at least proves that, after Bend It Like Beckham, director Gurinder Chadha has created an instantly recognizable anti-aesthetic. In place of narrative cohesion, there’s relentless girly cheeriness suggesting that Chadha’s main influence is Three’s Company, with arbitrary PC chatter indicating that she also took in All in the Family. “Inspired by” Jane Austen in the same way that Orca is redolent of Herman Melville, Bride offers a gaggle of giggly privileged Indian girls, headed by blue-green-eyed Lalita (Aishwarya Rai), looking for husbands. Among the prospects: a British backpacker, a relocated Indian fool, and an arrogant pretty boy who’s also “one of the richest men in America” (Martin Henderson). Guess who Lalita ends up with? With leadenly staged/choreographed musical numbers lacking in the kitsch magnificence of even a mediocre Bollywood production, where-are-they-now? globetrotting, and general narrative nonstructure, Chadha proves herself to be the perky femme heir to the Ed Wood throne of blithe incomprehensibility.