Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Melissa McCarthy
With its bright pink poster plastered with The Hangover-bashing quotes, Bridesmaids is being touted as a ground-breaking piece of female comedy. For those who missed Whip It and Easy A, a crowd of hysterical critics are lining up to shock you with their revelation: women are funny. But then you already knew that.
So try to ignore the marketing. Partly because Bridesmaids isn't revolutionary at all in its format. We follow Annie (Wiig) as she attempts to play maid of honour to her best friend Lillian (Rudolph). There are dress fittings, nights out, a flight to Vegas - all the things you'd expect to see in a mainstream comedy. And there's a fat woman too.
But while Megan (McCarthy) may not get much to do other than hit on an unsuspecting air marshal, other characters are superbly developed. For example, the gorgeous, rich and probably evil Helen (Byrne), Lillian's new best friend. While overlooked Annie's life slowly falls apart around her, Helen wrests away control of the wedding, turning everything into a flawless display of class and wealth.
Annie ain't too happy about that. One scene sees them out-speeching each other at a party, building from gentle tributes to Thai and Spanish-speaking competitions. "We don't even need words. A look says it all," boasts Byrne, as Wiig stares psychotically at everyone. It's like Bride Wars, but with actual characters.
These improvised skits really showcase the cast's comic timing. Managing the tone (if not the runtime), Paul Feig's direction gradually nudges every set-up until it descends into natural farce; Annie wreaking destruction upon a giant novelty cookie at a bridal shower is as heart-rending as it is hilarious. When it's on form, Bridesmaids is unbeatable.
Other parts, though, are less impressive. Inevitably, perhaps, for an Apatow-produced vehicle, it descends into laziness a little too easily. For every sincere guffaw, there's a bit where the fat woman does a poo in a sink. It's not that gross-out comedy doesn't belong in a female ensemble, it's that people crapping themselves in the street isn't always that funny.
Bridesmaids excels, though, because when they're not vomiting in each other's hair, the performers rise above it. Kristen Wiig - finally given a lead role after countless stellar supporting turns - nails the painful humour of her midlife crisis. She bakes cupcakes by herself, bonks Jon Hamm's arse off, gets stuck with a 10-foot gate between her legs and remalns nothing less than awesome at all times.
Well matched by the excellent Chris O'Dowd, Annie strikes up a romantic subplot with his loveable Irish cop, but it's her relationship with Maya Rudolph that defines the movie - Wiig's co-written script is about their strained friendship, not girls chasing boys. We don't even meet the groom that Lillian's spending the rest of her life with. Bridesmaids is more concerned with giving its stars time to let loose their skills on camera. And they don't disappoint.
So why the irrelevant PR campaign? Bridesmaids isn't a comment on Hall Pass or The Hangover, or the other misogynist comedies that roll into multiplexes. It's just a comedy. But even with the formulaic jokes, it's an intelligent and amusing comedy. And regardless of the posters, that's something to celebrate. After all, women are funny too. But then you already knew that.
Smart, funny and fully formed, these Bridesmaids are everything the Sex and the City girls aren't. A proper marriage of brains and LOLs.
What did you think?
- easy a
- jon hamm
- judd apatow
- kristen wiig
- maya rudolph
- melissa mccarthy
- paul feig
- the hangover
- whip it