Movie Review - Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids is superficially The Hangover (2008) featuring all women. Both films are about hijinks that a group of friends have leading up to a wedding, but thankfully, that's where the comparisons stop. While I doubt that this film will make as much money as The Hangover, I can unequivocally say that this film is extremely better.
Unlike most recent Hollywood comedies like Hall Pass, No Strings Attached or Just Go With It, this film isn't built on a stupid premise that any rational person could see was stupid. Written and starring Kristen Wiig, from Saturday Night Live, this film could have easily done so, but it didn't. It cleverly works within a normal situation, a very common situation, and finds humor in it without having to feel forced.
Produced by Judd Apatow, this film could also have easily fit into Apatow's canon of bromance films, except it's all women here. Instead of a bromance, a new word to call it might be a "sis-mance" or perhaps a "womance." What is a stark constrast to other summer blockbusters or even a movie like The Hangover, Bridesmaids has a steady pace. It's not a marathon with an urgency tied to a ticking clock. Yes, it culminates in a wedding that is weightily approaching, but it becomes evident that this movie is less about getting to that wedding on time and more about getting to know the women, which The Hangover lacked.
During The Hangover, I never felt like I really got to know the men, their characters, their lives and who they were outside the contrived scenarios. Aside from the character, played by Ed Helms, I never felt like I got to know those men. Even Bradley Cooper who was seemingly the star or leading role was just the handsome guy along for the ride. His character may have been setup in the beginning but I never felt like the writers dug any deeper.
That is certainly not the case here. Bridesmaids is a perfect vehicle for Kristen Wiig because it plays to all her strengths. The film also makes you feel like you know her and all the women in it. No, it doesn't have the energy of some male-driven, raunchy comedies like Wedding Crashers, but the speed at which it does move allows you to appreciate these women as the interesting characters that they are.
Not only did I appreciate them but I also fell in love with a couple of them, most especially Kristen Wiig who plays Annie, a former cake maker who now works at a jewelry store in Milwaukee. Her best friend, Lillian, played by Maya Rudolph, also of Saturday Night Live-fame, announces she's getting married to Doug and wants Annie to be her maid-of-honor. Annie runs into trouble when she meets all of the bridesmaids, including Helen, the wife of Doug's boss, played by Rose Byrne (Damages), a good girl who can sometimes be materialistic and snobbish.
The rivalry between Annie and Helen thrusts this movie the majority of the time. A love affair that Annie has in secret thrusts the movie the rest of the time. Wiig is brilliant and lovely, as the woman dealing with the pressures of both and how she's not really dealing with them. Her character isn't a sad sack, but she does feel bad about herself and her efforts to assert herself are usually passive aggressive. She's lovely but she's also in many ways lonely and can't seem to get a hold on relationships.
We see her relationships with a wealth of hilarious people. From her overweight, insensitive, British roommates to her jerk of a non-boyfriend, played by Jon Hamm, who only uses her for sex, sex at different rhythms, to an Irish, carrot-loving cop, played by Chris O'Dowd, and even to her mom, played by Jill Clayburgh, who attends Alcoholics' Anonymous though she's not an alcoholic, Annie has difficulty with all these people. Nevertheless, one of the bridesmaids, Lillian's future sister-in-law, Megan, played by Melissa McCarthy, steals the show. She's literally a slap in the face, crude and fierce. She leads the so-called "stone cold pack of weirdos" as the weirdest one of them all.
Directed by Paul Feig who also did episodes of Arrested Development, The Office, and Nurse Jackie, this movie combines greatly gags with good character connections. The movie has some real laugh-out-loud moments with about as many cool one-liners as Knocked Up. The best of them come toward the end and especially in a scene that has Wiig trading verbal jabs with a teenage girl, a verbal one-upmanship or rather one-up-womanship that had me laughing to the point of coughing. My favorite gag though would have to be the scene where Wiig's character has hit bottom so hard that she literally can't even get arrested, though she desperately tries. Wiig is wonderful.
Five Stars out of Five.
Rated R for strong sexuality and language throughout.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 5 mins.