Bridesmaids needed to succeed. Heck, there was pressure for Bridesmaids to succeed before production had even wrapped. Even though it’s a comedy written by women (written by Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig), and starring women (Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, etc.), the movie is ostensibly for EVERYONE. Romantic Comedies (or Rom-Coms) are often written by women and starring women, but the intended audience is also women. With Judd Apatow and Paul Feig behind your project, the dude factor is increased significantly. This movie had to bring critical acclaim and big bucks.
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The movie centers on Annie (Wiig) as she deals with the fact that her best friend Lillian (Rudolph) is getting married and moving on with her life. Annie doesn’t want to get left behind, and her feelings of inadequacy and anger are only increased when she meets Lillian’s new friend (and possible Annie replacement) Helen, played wonderfully bynon-comedian Rose Byrne. As the wedding draws nearer and the party & wedding prep intensifies, Annie has to cope with a lot of complicated life stuff (loss of friends, awareness of her single-dom, relationship growth, realization that her dreams may never come true, etc.). And, she’s simultaneously falling ass-backwards into a relationship with police officer Nathan Rhodes (a criminally underused Chris O’Dowd). Have I mentioned yet that the movie is funny?
It’s really difficult to talk about the movie and it's spot-on humor without giving away major spoilers (even though the trailers have been more than spoiler-heavy). Therefore, I think it is best to just lay out my thoughts about the movie in general terms, like a review mood-piece more than an in-depth analysis:
- Kristen Wiig does a great impression of a penis, complete with an angular scrotum.
- Nancy Carell (née Walls) shows up, but doesn’t have any lines. I really hope she shows up more in the deleted scenes.
- The most tonally strange scene is the now-infamous scene in the bridal boutique, wherein the women react violently to their food poisoning. Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph are amazing in this scene (especially Rudolph, whose health decline plays out like a sad, defecating Little Engine that Could). However, the other parts of the scene, especially what occurs in and around the toilet, just feel like they belong in a completely different movie.
- Multiple Wilson Phillips references! Multiple! Wilson Phillips! References!
- Who decided that all of the dresses needed to be fake brands? It really just takes the viewer out of the movie.
- Melissa McCarthy, of Gilmore Girls fame (and of the underrated The Nines), gives THE standout performance as Lillian’s future sister-in-law. She starts off as somewhat one-note but blossoms out from there. Heck, she even delivers the moral of the movie. If people go into this movie thinking that McCarthy is just going to be used for fat jokes (basically anyone who only knows her from Mike and Molly), they are going to be sorely mistaken. Girl’s got range!
- Wendi McLendon-Covey (Reno 911) and Ellie Kemper (The Office) are great too but are really underused. They barely show up in the final third of the movie and their characters don’t get any sort of story completion. Hopefully way more scenes of the two of them will pop up in the DVD bonus features as well.
- Fireworks! Lasers! Plane Hi Jinks! High Speed Chases! Kristen Wiig topless! Cars careening out of control without drivers! This movie is more intense than Fight Club.
- Annie’s failed business is called Cake Baby, which I’m guessing is a play on Crack Baby? Or maybe it’s just a cute name. I really don’t know.
- Annie’s decline through the movie follows a familiar, Ben Stiller-esque formula, wherein things get progressively worse for the protagonist until he/she does something ridiculous like burn down a gazebo. However, the movie twists this up a little, and there are enough well-drawn character moments to keep people from groaning in embarrassment for the protagonist. (Thanks to Guest-Blogger Con-Man for this observation).
- While the baking scenes aren’t nearly on the level of the baking scenes in Adrienne Shelly’s Waitress, they still made me totally jones for a cupcake.
- Annie is the jeweler people wish waited on them at jewelry stores, instead of the douche-baggified jewelers that normally populate such establishments. On that subject, one of her co-workers is named Kahlua. Maybe, after last week’s Parks and Recreation, she should change her name to Snake Juice.
- Funny Jon Hamm sex! It’s super awkward, but not nearly as awkward as Wiig’s next-day Walk of Shame.
- The late Jill Clayburgh is great, and it's sad to think that this is her final film. I loved her as Ally McBeal's mom (and in An Unmarried Woman), and she was really touching and hilarious in this.
- Did I mention that Kristen Wiig pretends to be a penis?
So, does the movie succeed at being awesome? Yes, absolutely, for the most part. There are some inconsistent areas, but overall it’s incredibly hilarious. Definitely see this movie - go for the humor, stay for the heart. At the viewing I attended, people left still crying and laughing - and not just the ladies. It’s a really well-done movie.
Film Grade: A