Like so many Valentines that will circulate this month, “Bridal Fever” espouses antiquated notions of love and romance wrapped around cheap sentiments. This “Fever” is more like bridal insanity, as if the “The Secret” and “The Rules” converged into one embarrassingly simplistic notion love of marriage: If you wish it, it will come.
In this Hallmark original, romance isn’t dead, it’s just severely misguided. Telepic comes close to addressing the modern dilemma of finding old- fashioned romance amid ever-changing gender rules, but it takes too long for the characters to come to their senses. Still, “Rescue Me’s” Andrea Roth and a fabulous-looking Delta Burke manage to create some frothy fun amid the maddeningly arcane notions in this poor man’s version of “27 Dresses.”
Old school chums Gwen (Roth) and Sandra (Melinda Deines) endure the awkward ritual of catching the bouquet at various nuptials. Sandra is especially embarrassed about her single status and plans her wedding with the same dedication as her retirement fund. Gwen, still stinging from a relationship gone bad, is reluctant to even get back into the game.
When Gwen is selected by famous romance novelist Dahlia Merchant (Burke) to edit her autobiography, she gets the career opportunity of a lifetime along with a crash course in man-catching.
Dubbed the Jedi master of marriage, with six nuptials under her belt, Dahlia soon has Gwen and Sandra visualizing the big day with scrapbooks and wish lists. She doles out gems like “Pull back, allow a man to do what he’s got to do: Chase.”
The unabashed man-hunting does lead to some funny scenes, including horrific speed-dating encounters, and burgeoning flirtations between Gwen and Jake (Gabriel Hogan), owner of a small bookstore.
Still, having smart professional women treating marriage as something to acquire, like a boat or a car, and wondering whether to downplay success in order to land a man, is just forehead-slapping material. Here, love, like sentimental TV movies, is a formula easily followed.