Movie Review: Bridesmaids (2011)
Most won’t admit it but women can be every bit as rude, crude and lewd as a man. Hell, get a girl to a male revue and put a few drinks in her and she’ll prove women can be even nastier than a guy. So with that notion and the fact girls are catty as hell in hand, Kristen Wiig and her fellow Saturday Night Live cohorts sketched a power-to-the-female comedy rich with profanity, bodily fluids and sexual innuendo. Say hello to Bridesmaids.
As you can deduce from the title, the movie wraps itself around the antics and lives of the five women who are, um, bridesmaids. As with the majority of comedies, disparate personalities are lumped together for the viewers pleasure when said personalities clash in perfectly set-up scenarios or express whatever their dominant personality trait is that makes one wonder how all these people could be BFF in the first place. Annie (Kristen Wiig) is the demure girl who can’t find a man to love and finds herself being squeezed out of maid of honor duties by Helen (Rose Byrne). There is the hefty Megan (Melissa McCarthy), who takes the honors of being the shit talker of the group; Rita (Wendy McLendon-Covey), the frustrated housewife who has uncontrollable teenagers; and Becca (Ellie Kemper), the blissful newlywed. Oh yeah, the pack also includes the girl with the pending nuptials, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), Annie’s best friend from childhood.
The two standouts, predictably, are Annie and Megan. Kristen Wiig, who was responsible for co-writing the script (Annie Mumolo helped too), is easily relatable and likable on the big screen. It helps also that her character, Annie, has the most growth opportunities — at the beginning of Bridesmaids she is used for sex and treated like shit by her guy (Jon Hamm), has lost her bakery, her apartment and, along with it all, her self esteem. So as she fights to maintain her spot as Lillian’s best friend and meets a possible Mr. Right (Chris O’Dowd) we secretly cheer her on. Melissa McCarthy is remarkable because she is fat, loud and does what she wants when she wants. It’s probably all the wrong reasons to make a lasting impression, I know, but fat, obnoxious people are funny.
As is the case with most Judd Apatow productions, of which Bridesmaids is one, some sleight of hand is going on — there is a well intended theme underlining the chaos and vomit spewing. Yep, you asked for it, the girls have some interesting moments following a bout with food poisoning that will cause your nose to crinkle and you to mutter, “Gross.” All while laughing and learning the meaning of friendship, mind you. There’s also a smidge of diarrhea to be found amongst the vulgarity-laced banter between friends with competing agendas. Some of it goes on too long, but more than one are refreshingly original.
The trailers for Bridesmaids really don’t do the film justice — it’s one of the few instances where a trailer actually undersold the movie it was marketing. The crude humor, obviously, could not be front and center (although it is implied) but woefully underappreciated was Kristen Wiig, who has had at least one memorable supporting role I can think of (Paul) and plenty of successful cameos (Saving Sarah Marshall, Semi-Pro). She really shines in her freshman effort at being a leading lady (of an ensemble cast, but nonetheless), perhaps taking the torch from fellow SNL alum Tina Fey. The month of May, it turns out, is going to be a great month for adult, R-rated humor — Bridesmaids has started it off on the right foot and The Hangover Part II will surely end it with a depraved bang.