Initially released as an online podcast drama, Bridezilla expands into a full-fledged rom-com written by Lucky Kuswandi (Selamat Pagi, Malam!, Galih & Ratna) and Fai Tirta. Helmed by Love for Sale director, Andibachtiar Yusuf, the rom-com brings along the original voice actors, including Jessica Milla, Sheila Dara, and Rafael Tan. Along with Mantan Manten, Bridezilla observes the studio’s wedding-themed dramas released in 2019.
Bridezilla centers on the phenomenon where a bride figuratively turned into a Godzilla, self-sabotaging her own wedding with a series of whimsical demands due to her persistence of having the dream wedding. It revolves around a wedding organizer, Dara (Milla), whose life has been dedicated to making nuptial fantasies come true. Disastrously, her career goes downhill after a socialite’s wedding she handles turned into a trainwreck before the Mother of All-Wedding, Anna (Widyawati, stealing the look of Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly). She accuses the nouveau-riche bride (Lucinta Luna, doing a self-portrayal) as a bridezilla; but, deep inside, she blames herself for not being able to organize the dream wedding, which might make the company she built with her BFF, Key (Sheila Dara), and a colleague, Aang (Rafael Tan), the most legit wedding organizer in the country.
Bridezilla owns a unique premise revolving around the toxic wedding lifestyle, which the movie doubles down with doses of another toxic—socialite lifestyle. The thing is the movie bets on its tongue-to-cheek narrative with deadpan seriousness. In bouncing back from the disaster, Dara strangely proposes a dire idea—using her own wedding with Alvin (Rio Dewanto) as leverage to win the ‘wedding of the year’ accolade from Anna’s opulent magazine, Wedding Star. The solution is pretty comical, if not cheesy, but that signifies how Dara’s motivational descends to finally become a bridezilla herself—sabotaging her own career, her own life, and her own relationship with her closest people. This could expand into a full-fledged character study wrapped in sugar-coated rom-com, but Bridezilla slips into a series of simplification.
The shift from being the anti-bridezilla to become the full-fledged one isn’t always smooth. The trigger of most conflicts does not get proper exposition and the script does not treat the protagonist justly; therefore, audiences did not get a chance to root for her. Most of the time, we’ll see Dara as an obsessed woman who will even go the extra miles, stealing the attention of Jakarta’s most obtrusive socialites. Yet, when she does steal their attention, she suddenly gets uncomfortable for some reason not shown to the audiences. When Dara finally gets to confront Key—her long-time best friend and supposed-to-be bridesmaid—in one of the movie’s supposed-to-be most heartbreaking scenes, the moment does not hit the right spot for two reasons: first, the idea of bridesmaid isn’t something that makes sense to the target culture; second, we have no idea that Dara and Key are, like, soul sisters aside from their professional relations. It goes as if audiences are led to despise the idea of a bridezilla, or even worse, dehumanizing them.
To make matters worse, some elements in Bridezilla are often distant, even when they become integral parts of the story. Widyawati’s impersonation of Miranda Priestly is stunning as individual performance, but it feels alienated from the whole context. In one scene, I had to second-guess if her cynical character actually mocks Dara’s nonsensical proposal or, otherwise, sincerely praises it. I just realized if it’s actually a compliment when the editor finally cancels it upon seeing Dara’s engagement ring. The ring itself poses another conflict that has never been dug out properly before it magically resolves. The same goes to Lucinta Luna’s performance, which ends up being some mere prolonged gimmick. Bridezilla can force her as a background cameo, but the story decides to give her an arc as a ‘rival wedding’ only to actually mock her with borderline ‘unreal woman’ jokes. Not to mention that the joke almost insensitively crosses the line.
Conflicts will come and go. Rio Dewanto’s Alvin will make some entrance with unzipped pants for no reason or chant to AC Milan scene while half-ignoring the sorry girlfriend only to finally forgive her while still celebrating the goal. Rukman Rosadi’s father character becomes occasional deus ex machina. Aimee Saras leads some unconvincing socialite society. Rafael Tan performance feels awkward, especially during the ‘no eavesdropping’ scene. Only Sheila Dara manages to constantly make a character worthy of sympathy. As the ‘wedding of the year’ unravels, I did not care anymore if the wedding deserves the title. Luckily, Sheila Dara wedding-crashes it, even if she cannot save Bridezilla from being the trainwreck.