Bridesmaids (2011)

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In a year of disappointing blockbusters, superhero films muscling in on each other for box office supremacy and comedies with a distinct lack of big laughs, Bridesmaids proves to be the perfect antidote. It’s a “chick flick” that will appeal to everyone with its winning mix of women behaving badly.

Kristen Wiig stars as Annie, the woman who gets the to be maid of honour for her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph). Annie is determined to get everything just right despite her own disastrous love life, low finances and generally poor timing. Things are made worse when she realises that she is now competing for Lillian’s friendship with Helen (Rose Byrne). As things start to go wrong, Helen always seems to be the only one who can fix everything. This makes Annie try harder and harder. Which, in turns, ends up with things going even more wrong.

Perhaps the most satisfying thing about Bridesmaids is seeing Kristen Wiig get the leading status she deserves after lending her support elsewhere (and sometimes being one of the few highlights, as was the case with MacGruber). She also co-wrote the movie, with Annie Mumolo, and deserves all of the praise aimed her way, even if the movie also features some brilliant improvisational work throughout.

As a comedic actress, Wiig succeeds as easily as ever. She’s likeable and genuinely funny. Maya Rudolph does just fine as the bride caught up in the midst of one minor disaster after another and the friendship between both women is believable and handled perfectly. Rose Byrne is also very good as Helen, a woman quite easy to dislike but also on the receiving end of some great insults and just ever-so-slightly sympathetic. Wendi McLendon-Covey raises many laughs as the wife and mother who wants the chance to get away from her everyday life and wallow in some debauchery and Ellie Kemper does okay with her slight role, a woman who has only ever been with her husband. Then we have Melissa McCarthy almost stealing the movie with her turn as the crude and hilarious Megan. Bad men are represented by Jon Hamm, in a comically arrogant turn, but guys need not fear because the best qualities of a good man are embodied by Chris O’Dowd, who makes for a fantastic potential love interest as Officer Nathan Rhodes.

Director Paul Feig does just fine but it’s hard to imagine anyone making this into a bad film, the performances and witty dialogue are so good. It must be said, however, that some great decisions are made regarding just how long to hold on certain uncomfortable moments and how the tone is judged. Things come closest to being far too cringeworthy in an early scene with Annie and Helen battling over who gets the last word over a microphone but the rest of the movie manages to walk a fine line between easy laughter and that uneasy embarrassment factor.

It may be unfair to call Bridesmaids the female equivalent of The Hangover but it’s also quite appropriate and complimentary. The film is funny, warm, occasionally reliant on toilet humour and just an excellent modern comedy, regardless of your gender.

DIRECTOR: PAUL FEIG
STARS: KRISTEN WIIG, MAYA RUDOLPH, ROSE BYRNE, MELISSA MCCARTHY, CHRIS O’DOWD, WENDI MCLENDON-COVEY, ELLIE KEMPER, JON HAMM
RUNTIME: 125 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: USA

Film Rating: ★★★★☆

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