Movie Review – Bridesmaids (Mini Review)

Offbeat, uneven fem-edy with plenty of raunchy dialogue starts well enough, falters in the middle, and outstays its welcome at about the 90 minute mark. Kristen Wiig does her best to hold this together, but the flimsy story, coupled with a plethora of cliches and generic genre set-ups make Bridesmaids a hit-or-miss affair destined to remain a single-viewing experience only. Worth a look, but you won’t re-watch it.


– Summary –

Director : Paul Feig
Year Of Release : 2011
Principal Cast : Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jill Clayburgh, Chris O’Dowd, Ellie Kemper, John Hamm.
Approx Running Time : 130 Minutes (Unrated Edition)
Synopsis: When her best friend since childhood becomes engaged, Annie’s life starts to spiral out of control when she becomes jealous of one of her friends newer, more affluent, family friends.
What we think : Offbeat, uneven fem-edy with plenty of raunchy dialogue starts well enough, falters in the middle, and outstays its welcome at about the 90 minute mark. Kristen Wiig does her best to hold this together, but the flimsy story, coupled with a plethora of cliches and generic genre set-ups make Bridesmaids a hit-or-miss affair destined to remain a single-viewing experience only. Worth a look, but you won’t re-watch it.


Just Quickly

Annie (Kristen Wiig) is asked to be the Maid of Honor at her childhood friend’s wedding – the problem is, Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is marrying into a higher social set, meaning Kristen’s poverty stricken bank account won’t be able to keep up with the expectation Jillian’s new friend Helen (Rose Byrne) puts out at ever occasion she can. Annie’s business, a bakery in Milwaukee, has gone bankrupt, leaving her with a mountain of debts, and very few prospects to improve herself. As Maid of Honor, she does all she can to keep on the cheap side with plans for Hens Nights and dresses for the big day, but Helen, who’s wealth and success drive Annie to distraction and frustrated jealousy, is intent on making Jillian’s wedding one to remember. Cue the clash of the female wills, as both Annie and Helen fight to be a “better” friend to Jillian. Bridesmaids seems to have been marketed as a female-oriented R-rated comedy in the vein of The Hangover, and although missing any quantity of naked boobies, there’s more than enough drunken, drugged-out antics to keep even the most salacious viewer at bay. Scripted by lead actress Wiig, and fellow Saturday Night Live alum Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids isn’t an original story, nor are the characters in it original either – although this modern updating of the warring wedding participants seems quite sprightly at the outset, by the end of it all, it’s more than worn out its welcome. Wiig isn’t strong enough to really carry this film, her performance more a performance of perception than originality – the difference between her role in Paul and this, for example, indicates that she’s capable of more than Bridesmaids draws out of her.

The Result

Ahh, the classic female-centric comedy about getting married. The tried and true plot about women bonding over that most holy of ceremonies, and all the emotional baggage that comes with it. After a century of film, in which this very subject has been strip-mined into near oblivion, a film like this ought to almost write itself – to a degree, I’d say Bridesmaids did write itself. The characters are all singularly dimensional – save Megan, the overweight and oversexed future-sister-in-law played by Melissa McCarthy (currently appearing in TV sitcom Mike & Molly), and the films pacing does leave a little to be desired. While the script tries to cobble some laughs out of bodily functions (a scene where the girls all get food poisoning whilst fitting their dresses at a boutique establishment is one of the funniest in the entire movie) and casually awful sex (with Wiig engaging the hunky talents of and over-acting John Hamm), Bridesmaids makes a meal out of every situation these people get into. Some of it is truly awful: a scene where Annie and Helen try and out-toast each other at the engagement party, for example, drags out about five minutes longer than it should have, and just isn’t funny. Some of it is borderline average: Annie’s genuine love-interest, Officer Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd) doesn’t have the rapport with Wiig to make their attraction believable. Most of it is actually pretty lamentably awful on purpose: Annie’s housemates, played by Aussie comedienne Rebel Wilson and Brit comic Matt Lucas, are stupefyingly creepy for a reason we’re never given, and there’s a crassness that feels out-of-place here, as if the script’s thrown a few F-bombs in to give this film an edgier flavor. It doesn’t work. I know I’m not the target audience for this film, and the constant man-bashing by these women seems to be too overt to be clever instead of subtle, but I’d have killed for a few more laughs than I got. If it wasn’t for McCarthy’s screamingly funny turn as Megan, which almost single-handedly saves this film from being a complete snooze-fest, Bridesmaids could have been a real turkey. As it is, Bridesmaids remains a “oncer”, a film you’ll only need to see once. It’s worth a gander, if just for curiosity’s sake, but I can’t recommend it very highly at all.


What Others Are Saying About Bridesmaids:

Dan over at Dan The Man’s Movie Reviews says: “Not necessarily “the female Hangover”, but still funny altogether.”

Aiden at Cut The Crap says this: “Probably the best “chick flick” I’ve seen since Mean Girls.”

Sam from Duke & The Movies says it more eloquently than I ever could: “Sadly, like all great comedians, Bridesmaids doesn’t capture Wiig’s talents to the fullest. That’s not to say the film is laugh free – because there are, despite its sluggish narrative, spurts of comedic gold.”

Nostra at My Filmviews has this to say: “Despite the number of women I don’t think this is a movie for women, it’s one that can be enjoyed by everyone.”

Jessica at the Velvet Cafe takes the intellectual route: “I strongly suspect that a lot of the humor in Bridesmaids is based on recognition. The more you’ve been in similar situations, the funnier you’ll find it.”

I’ve never been in any of these situations, so I guess that means I didn’t find it funny!

And my mate Colin over at Nevermindpopfilm thoroughly enjoyed it: “I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. Bridesmaids has set the bar really high for comedies this summer and I don’t see anyone topping it.”

Who wrote this?

16 thoughts on “Movie Review – Bridesmaids (Mini Review)

  1. I really enjoyed this film in the theaters. I think I'd like to watch it again, but I have no urge to buy it. It isn't the best comedy in years, but its nice to see the girls get raunchy.

    1. Thanks Max… yeah, it's good to see the girls get a bit filthy for once, instead of just being shocked by what the guys get up to. Just goes to prove that women aren't always sunshine and buttercups, eh?

  2. I really loved this film. I thought the bit where they got sick trying on dresses was hilarious!!

  3. Y'know, I still haven't got around to seeing this. It passed me by at the cinema and I haven't made any effort to watch it now it's out on DVD. I'd like to see it but I'm not in a particular rush.

    1. @ Claire – it's the kind of film you're better off seeing with a bunch of friends (preferably drunk) so until you find yourself in that situation, no need to hurry out and catch this one… But when you do, I think you'll find it amusing…

  4. I don't really have any interest in seeing this though i have a feeling I might not enjoy it very much. I don't do well w/ crass and mean-spirited humor and this movie sounds like it's chock full of those.

    1. @ Pete – Emphasis on the "some" laugh out load moments! Thanks for stopping in!

      @ Dan – Disappointment follows this film indeed.

      @ Ruth – It is. Chock full.

  5. Kristen Wigg is talented but this film is way overrated. That scene they keep playing on the plane and the sex in the toilet gag is the funniest bit of the film. The rest is just average. I agree with much of your review Rodney. Bridesmaids really disappointed me.

  6. Yeah bit long and some of the jokes/set-pieces outstay their welsome but Wiig is brilliant and there are some laugh out loud moments. Best bit for me was when she calls the kid in the jewellry shop a little you know what!

  7. Wow! I guess that's why comedies generally don't transplant well to other countries! While I didn't share the general wild praises for the movie, I did thought it was a solid comedy with some pretty hilarious moments. It would be a 7 or 8/10 in my book. Sorry you didn't enjoy this more Rodney 🙁

    1. That's an interesting point you raise, Castor. I think a film like Bridesmaids really lives or dies by the audience's sense of humor. You're right – sometimes certain styles of comedy don't always find an audience in certain segments of the population, and of all the genre's of filmmaking, comedy is by far the most subjective, and as such more prone to an uneven success rate. Folks who find Monty Python hilarious, say, might not find the comedy of Tom Green as funny, and vice versa. I always wanted to examine the comedy genre a little more in depth, because I think it's a lot harder to make a successful broad-spectrum comedy than it is to throw a few giant robots on the screen and blow stuff up.To bastardize the old saying a little: action is easy, comedy is hard. What would be an interesting test would be to get a bunch of people from different countries, and watch a collection of the top grossing (or highest critically rated) comedies from countries outside of their own and see what ratings they give them. That would provide (I think, anyway) a fascinating litmus test with regards to comedy "working" or "failing" in a variety of markets.

      That aside, I think Jessica over at The Velvet Cafe sums it up best – it's a funnier film if you are more familiar with the situations presented within.

  8. i was expecting a piece of chick and came away pleasantly surprised. i laughed out loud and i don't often do that in movies anymore. i'm with Dan the Man and Aiden and Colin and…well, the vast majority of people you quoted. Damn, you hang with some pretty discriminating peeps, brother.

    1. Dan O – I think the general consensus is the film's running time is a little too long. And you're right, the final act does tend towards the melodrama more than the comedy. Thanks for stopping by Dan!

      Sam – You're welcome mate. Ovverrated indeed. How this got a screenplay nom at the Oscars is beyond me.

      Al – We descriminate equally here at 😉 The dress fitting sequence was by far the only real reason to see this film – for about five or ten minutes it was hilarious, but then it went awry somewhere… Thanks Al!

  9. Thank you for the quote my man.

    Not surprised you didn't like the film – extremely overrated.

  10. It was very funny and all of the girls work great together, but I couldn't just help thinking that the film went on a little too long and gets melodramatic by the end. Still, it was a fun time at the movies. Good review Rod.

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