– 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.
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.
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.