REVIEW: Bridesmaids [2011]

Score: 8/10 | ★ ★ ★

Rating: R | Runtime: 125 minutes | Release Date: May 13th, 2011 (USA)
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director(s): Paul Feig
Writer(s): Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo

“Hold on for one more day”

The best things a comedy can do are to exceed expectations and prove you don’t need to show all the funny parts in the trailer to con people into coming. Kristen Wiig and co-writer Annie Mumolo achieve both with their ‘stone-cold pack of weirdoes’ gearing up for the bride-to-be’s wedding day. Following in Tina Fey’s footsteps as SNLer turned feature film comedy scribe, Wiig branches out from the tv sketch show with help from Judd Apatow and his gang, including director Paul Feig, to bring the R-rated Bridesmaids to screens for everyone’s enjoyment. Similar to The Hangover in its raunchiness and pre-marital theme, the film also has the luxury of reaching both sides of the gender fence, giving the boys a little rom-com and the girls a little gross-out vulgarity. Wiig and Mumolo are equal opportunity offenders and thus should see success at the box office as a result. I hope it does too because smart, witty, and laugh-out-loud work such as this is what’s needed to show Hollywood still has what it takes to deliver original work worthy of our time. Utilizing common genre tropes and their fair share of vomit and excrement, they somehow keep it fresh.

The motley crue at the center consists of Wiig as Annie, the Maid of Honor for best friend since childhood Lillian (Maya Rudolph), the bride’s cousin Rita (Wendy McLendon-Covey) and co-worker Becca (Ellie Kemper), soon to be sister-in-law Megan (Melissa McCarthy), and Helen (Rose Byrne), the usurper of power and affection. While the movie is meant to show Annie’s evolution from down-in-the-dumps to rock bottom to hopefully having some semblance of a satisfying life, all set to the backdrop of a wedding with every bit of love, jealousy, envy, and vanity that goes along with it, the fun stuff lies in her rivalry with Helen—a clash of heavyweight attention grabbers searching for gold. Pitted on opposite sides, Annie having no money or a handle on etiquette with Helen in possession of a full checkbook and years of aristocratic conditioning, the two are quickly discovered to be quite similar. Their jockeying for position at the side of Lillian breaks from good-humored spotlight hogging into vicious sabotage without regard for the consequences. The battle only pulls Annie down further, conversely bringing the laughter to a crescendo.

Television comediennes all, McLendon-Covey and Kemper add to the shenanigans with their mirrored outlooks on life—the former in a marriage that has become rutted in routine with all the sewage of parenting rising to the surface while the latter lives in an idyllic fantasy of happily ever after, naively traveling forward without worry—while McCarthy steals scene after scene with her butch façade—completely out of her normal typecast saccharine sugar—and nymphomaniac tendencies towards any man with a pulse, (poor Ben Falcone, or perhaps not after seeing the horrific sights of the end credits). Rudolph, the one for which everything is happening, is great as the bride, trying to get through the craziness with the two women she loves, unable to cope with the mental breakdowns occurring around her, but still able to put her game face on for a little Wilson Phillips dance-off. And Byrne, the villain of the tale, excels in her pristine sheen of perfection, the perma-smile and nonplussed demeanor, even when told off by a stepson, a fixture for the duration. Heck, she even needs to prove she’s a graceful crier; there can be no blemishes.

But no matter how great the supporting cast, it really is Wiig’s show and she takes the role with assuredness—she did write it after all. Surrounded by those woman—along with a cavalcade of cameos from the likes of Rebel Wilson and Matt Lucas as European imbecilic roommates, Terry Crews in a bit part as a drill sergeant-esque fitness instructor, and an uncredited Jon Hamm once more making the world wonder how he landed his role on “Mad Men” when his penchant for comedy is so fantastically great—she always ends up on top, her mix of self-pity, neuroses, and insecurities making her likeably vulnerable, familiarly loathsome, and exactly like us. She is the everywoman toiling through the life she has made, taking every misstep as complete catastrophe, unable to rise up in spite of it all. Punishing herself by staying in a psychologically abusive tryst with a jerk cultivating a torturous cheapness she accept, bringing her problems into her new job as a jewelry counter clerk to drive every customer away, refusing to bake after her dream occupation was shattered by the recession, and self-destructive in any new relationship, Annie is a mess.

With hilarious bits like an airplane ride’s concoction of prescription drugs and scotch, a waltz of vehicular transgressions montaged to garner the attention of a State Trooper, and a food poisoned dress fitting, it would be tough for these actresses to screw up the laugh-out-loud vibe. The casting of “IT Crowd” star Chris O’Dowd as the romantic interest for Wiig is inspired, breathing another gust of fresh air on the proceedings with Irish accent and sarcastic wit. It’s fun to watch a film that subverts the male/female dynamic to include a sensitive man looking for love while the woman assumes blanket male casualness, running away from the commitment she so desires. In this way, Bridesmaids unabashedly portrays the intrinsic cattiness and absolute blind love between girlfriends along with the often swept under the rug sense of feminine sexual yearning thought as taboo in most so-called chick flicks. The women are empowered at the same time as afraid of what may come; they are three-dimensional eccentrics with a wealth of comedic glory, proving Wiig has a finger on the humorous pulse of her gender, out-Hangovering The Hangover in the process.

[1] (L to R) WENDI MCLENDON-COVEY, ROSE BYRNE, KRISTEN WIIG, MELISSA MCCARTHY, MAYA RUDOLPH and ELLIE KEMPER in “Bridesmaids”. In the comedy, Wiig stars as Annie, a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her best friend, Lillian (Rudolph), and a group of colorful bridesmaids on a wild ride down the road to matrimony. Photo Credit: Suzanne Hanover Copyright: © 2011 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
[2] Annie (KRISTEN WIIG) and Officer Rhodes (CHRIS O’DOWD) flirt in “Bridesmaids”. In the comedy, Wiig stars a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her best friend and a group of colorful bridesmaids on a wild ride down the road to matrimony. Photo Credit: Suzanne Hanover Copyright: © 2011 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
[3] Maya Rudolph stars as Lillian and Kristen Wiig stars as Annie in Universal Pictures’ Bridesmaids (2011)

2 Thoughts to “REVIEW: Bridesmaids [2011]”

  1. Jay Jay

    My daughter and I saw this movie and felt it was the worse movie ever. Apparently so did the 65 viewers sitting with us. It was a chuckle here and there but nothing more. Speaking of scenes that were featured in the trailer, some of those scenes weren’t in the movie. We both loved the Hangover and to me there was no comparison.

    1. you’re the first person to tell me they didn’t like the film. thanks for the opinion.

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