‘Bridesmaids’ funnier than baby armsMovie Review Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
At the screening of Bridesmaids that I attended with my husband, during the few lulls between thunderous guffaws we could hear the young blonde woman sitting next to Rob commenting on the plot to her mother: “What a bitch!” “Aw, he’s so cute!” “That would never happen!” As we walked out, she said, “If my best girlfriend ruined my shower, she would not be invited to my wedding. That was so unrealistic!”
I wanted to say two things to this girl, but civility prevented me.
First, I would have pointed out that Bridesmaids is a broad comedy in which things that would never happen do happen all of the time. Don’t ponder the psychology or the physics; just laugh!
Second, I would have said, “Talking during a movie is rude. You’re exactly the kind of bobble-headed dingbat Kristen Wiig would have hated.”
Wiig’s character in Bridesmaids is Annie, a woman in her mid-30s whose bakery has gone out of business, whose only love interest is a hot but hideous cad (John Hamm) and whose best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) has none of the same problems. In fact, Lillian is about to marry a good man with a good job and, maybe, leave Annie and her symbolically messy, mousey brown bob in the dust.
Wiig, who co-wrote and co-produced Bridesmaids, is the current MVP of Saturday Night Live, and she’s expert at playing, yes, Nancy Pelosi. In Bridesmaids, however, she’s playing a nearly real person, the kind of flawed, funny, smart, authentic woman who other SNL stars like Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph have graduated to.
Annie’s fear and low self-esteem lead her to instantly loathe Lillian’s new best friend, an uppity country club queen named Helen (Rose Byrne) for whom everything seems to come way too easily. The petty rivalry between Annie and Helen and Annie’s spectacular – often scatologically so – failures in organizing Lillian’s bridesmaid events are the bulk of the plot and the film’s jokes.
The other bridesmaids provide numerous one-liners and amazing site-gags, with the tough, round, foul and insightful Melissa McCarthy stealing almost every scene she’s in. Another scene-stealer is Chris O’Dowd, who plays a witty and adorable local police officer (with an inexplicable Irish accent) who attempts to woo an unnerved Annie.
Surrounding this tale of thirty-something angst are some of the most brilliant comic scenes I’ve seen on film since The Hangover. But R-rated gross-out comedy made by and for women is very different from the stuff made by and for men. The jokes – whether it’s the bridesmaids all experiencing explosive food poisoning in an expensive, all-white dress shop or Annie trying to get the cop’s attention by driving past him doing every illegal act imaginable – instead are made with affection for Annie and her friends, with empathy for the absurdity of the female predicament of too-perfect weddings, asinine men and the need to have it all and the impossibility of getting it.
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