I’ll admit it. At first glance, Bridesmaids does not seem to be a film that a website like Faceplant would be reviewing. What’s a nerdy dude like me going to see something with a movie poster like the one on the right here! Ignore the “chick flick” vibe. The film is directed by Paul Feig, whose done work on 30 Rock, Mad Men, Arrested Development, Weeds, and The Office, to name a few. The two stars are Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph who are so far beyond just chick flick humor in their SNL and movie roles that to just assume as much about this film would be unfair. Oh and a gentleman by the name of Judd Apatow produced the film. Taking all of these factors in to consideration, it’s no surprise that Bridesmaids ends up being a truly funny film. It can get formulaic at points in regards to the plot, but the humor itself is definitely pushing the limits of good taste…in a good way! For anybody that has doubts, this is much more akin to The Hangover or Knocked up than it is to Sex and the City. Kristen Wiig especially shows that she’s probably very shortly about to outgrow her SNL roots and start doing her own stuff, as she’s also co-writer for this project. Where the film will go for a joke is truly surprising, which makes it stand out from most summer comedies.
Bridesmaids starts with a basic setup; Lillian (Rudolph) gets engaged. She promptly asks her best friend Annie (Wiig) to be her maid of honor, which Annie happily accepts. Despite the alpha dog title of maid of honor, Annie soon realizes she has serious competition in the being best friend department in the form of Helen, played by Rose Byrne. I’ve seen Byrne in dramatic works (Damages, Sunshine, 28 Weeks Later) and always thought she was strong. It was nice to see her succeed very well here as a comic presence. Helen is the closest thing to a villain the movie has but it’s clear even from the start she’s a good friend to Lillian. She does upstage Annie almost from the start, which becomes more and more upsetting for Annie as times goes on, because her life is spiraling downward. Their clashes over details of the wedding, such as a fantastic scene that can only be described as an emotional speech arms race, become increasingly over the top and hilarious. Even when the scenes are hilarious, and most of them are, there’s always at least an undercurrent of drama with Annie.
In fact that’s probably the oddest thing about Bridesmaids, although knowing Judd Apatow it’s not surprising, the film is tinged with moments of real drama that borders on depressing. Annie is seeing Ted (played by Jon Hamm) who can only be described as an asshole. While his callous attitude and disregard for any of Annie’s feelings do provide some good laughs, he’s so over the top that I question why Annie continues to see him. The comedy is good though, with he and Wiig providing the raunchiest scene of the film. Raunchy is a good term for Bridesmaids, I was impressed with how vulgar it was. It usually came upon the edgy stuff in a way that the audience didn’t see it coming, which made the payoffs that much funnier. I won’t spoil one of the funnier scenes in the movie, but if you thought a giant scene that is basically five straight minutes of poo jokes was out-of-bounds for a film like this, you’d be wrong. Speaking of the poo scene, it gives me a good excuse to praise Melissa McCarthy’s turn as Megan, definitely the least lady like of the Bridesmaids crew. Not only does she bring a great physical presence to the role (I giggle about watching her testing out on a couch while they go dress shopping) but the writing gives her some of the best moments and lines. Whether she’s collecting an excess of golden retriever puppies (it makes sense in the movie, really!) or redefining the phrase meats and cheeses, she’s consistently hilarious the whole film.
The other stand out of the film for me was Chris O’Dowd as a potential non asshole love interest for Annie. I can’t imagine his role, a police officer named Nathan, was originally written for a guy with an Irish accent. That they cast him anyway and worked some jokes in about it is a testament to how funny he was. The light-hearted approach he takes to police work was hilarious, you’d be mad if he gave you a ticket but it would be hard not to laugh. His is probably the biggest of the “smaller” roles in the film, but the rest of the cast fares well too. Wendi Mclendon-Covey (of Reno 911 fame) and Ellie Kemper (of The Office fame) are kind of the two forgotten bridesmaids in this film, but even they get some good lines in, including some fantastic lesbian jokes!
Bridesmaids just crossed the $100 million dollar mark domestically which is pretty damn good for a “small” movie that cost $32 million to make. It did so in part because word of mouth has been so strong; I’m quite happy to add to that. This is a legitimately funny movie. I have yet to see The Hangover 2 but judging from word of mouth and reviews of that film, Bridesmaids is the better picture. I talked about Kristen Wiig becoming bigger than her SNL gig, I foresee her going the Tina Fey route very shortly. Whether she’s being wickedly funny (oh yeah, there’s a Hitler joke! The Führer is a comedy gold mine people) or doing some of the films more dramatic work, she’s good across the board. The rest of the cast plays well too. The result is a movie that is a good comedy for either gender. But seriously, it has multiple shots of large groups of golden retriever puppies, it’s worth it on that alone.
Filed under: Movies | Tagged: Bridesmaids, Bridesmaids review, Chris O'Dowd, Ellie Kemper, Hangover 2, Hitler, Jon Hamm, Judd Apatow, Kristen Wiig, lesbian jokes, Maya Rudolph, meats and cheeses, Melissa McCrathy, Paul Feig, puppies, Rose Byrne, The IT Crowd, Tina Fey, Wendi Mclendon-Covey |