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Friday, May 13, 2011
Some strong sexuality, and language throughout.
Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd, Matt Lucas, Jill Clayburgh, Rebel Wilson, Michael Hitchcock
Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo
This spring, Universal Pictures and producer Judd Apatow ("Knocked Up," "The 40-Year-Old Virgin") invite you to experience "Bridesmaids."
Bridesmaids (2011) | Review
Damsel in Distress
At it's core, what Bridesmaids is truly about is down-on-her-luck maid of honor Annie (Kristin Wiig). Many of the gags—at their best and at their worst—are a catalog of evidence for why Annie's life sucks and how much of a failure she has become. Complete a-hole of a non-boyfriend, check. Super awkward, diary-reading brother and sister roommates, check. Food poisoning of the entire bridal party, check. Alcohol-fueled, mid-flight melt-down, check. Jealousy fueled attempts to prove that she's still the bride's (Maya Rudolf) best friend culminating in a cake-throwing, chocolate-fountain-desecrating bridal shower meltdown, check and check. I'll give it to Wiig, she definitely paints a picture of frustration and failure for her character Annie. But while these moments make up the majority of the film—and a handful do manage to generate both hilarity and a sense of genuine pity for the unlucky gal at their center—alone, the humor of frustration is not quite enough to equal an actual story.
Truth be told, despite it being promoted as a movie all about women and friendships between women and stories about women, the strongest part of Bridesmaids is a certain male character and the romantic subplot he allows to exist. Unlike most of the scenes Annie shares with the women, from the first time she meets sheepishly charming Officer Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd) to the last, the scenes they share are filled with humor and chemistry that come off as genuine and real rather than just another gag. In their scenes, Annie also comes off as a more of a real person, relaxed and just being, rather than suddenly possessed by an over-the-top comedic sketch. Even in a series of one comic stunt after another after another that Annie pulls later in the movie to try to get Rhodes' attention, born not out of the self-focused competition and pity that dominates most of the movie but rather stemming from a genuine desire for connection, the humor only gains that much more smile power.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not trying to say that a woman's only way out of a hard place is to find a cute guy to save her. Neither do I want to completely discount the female characters' role in turning the movie and Annie's life into an actual story rather than just a string of jokes. In fact, the groom's sister Megan (Melissa McCarthy's) is on hand for one of the movie's most honest yet still comedic scenes which ultimately helps Annie snap out of her slump. "And say what? That I can't get off the couch? That I don't have any friends?," Annie responds after Megan arrives uninvited and demands to know why Annie hasn't returned any of her calls. "Here's a friend," Megan replies back. But when Annie still resists any sense of optimism, Megan pulls out all the stops as she pins Annie down, pulls out her Female Fight Club persona, and shouts "I'm trying to get you to fight for your shitty life!" And in that moment you can't help but feel like: that's the kind of friend I want, someone who doesn't just offer token nuggets of optimism and encouragement when I get off track, someone who's willing to take action and physically force me to see that what I have to be thankful for is actually real.
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