Bridesmaids

Rating:

Every Little Girl’s Dream…

Main Cast: Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne

Director: Paul Feig

Planning a wedding seems to be a lot bigger deal than it was back in the day.  You know, back in the day when people were sane.  Now being in a bridal party requires each woman to have the bankroll of a Saudi prince and the patience of a saint.  Fortunately for all of us, Kristen Wiig has neither in Bridesmaids.

Before you get any further into this review please understand one thing – Bridesmaids is rated R and it’s not because it has “mature themes”.  It’s because of potty humor and naughty words and sex and all sorts of inappropriate behavior.  If that’s not your thing, stop now.  This ain’t your mama’s rom/com.

Now then, let’s enjoy a little raunch, shall we?  Kristen Wigg stars as Annie, best friend of Lillian (Maya Rudolph).  The two have been friends since childhood and share a funny, easy rapport that makes us love them from word one.  When Lillian announces her engagement, Annie is thrilled to be the Maid of Honor.  She just doesn’t know what she’s getting herself into by accepting the role.

Often it’s the in-laws or parents or ex-lovers who cause the drama in wedding movies, but not here.  Here it’s Helen (Rose Byrne).  Helen is perfect.  She’s beautiful and polished and organized and married to the successful boss of the groom and…she proclaims Lillian to be her new best friend.  Annie is the very opposite of Helen.  She’s underemployed, single, shares an apartment with two of the weirdest people on Earth and has a torturously toxic non-relationship going on with Ted (an uncredited Jon Hamm).  She’s a mess, but she loves Lillian and tries to do the right thing and get along with Helen and make the wedding preparations as fabulous as she can.

She fails.  Oh, thank you Lord, she fails magnificently and we get to watch.

Bridesmaids is a Judd Apatow production.  That should tell you something about the type of comedy to expect.  It’s raunchy and over-the-top and wildly outrageous.  It’s also absolutely hilarious.  Wiig has no fear as a comedian – she’s perfectly happy to look awful and be a failure at life as Annie.  She’s also adorable and pathetic and witty and smart.

Kristen Wiig – gorgeous and hilarious

She isn’t terribly deep but she’s wildly engaging.  When she meets a cute cop (Chris O’Dowd – adorable and witty himself) their flirty banter is not at all sickening, it really is funny.  Wiig co-write the screenplay and clearly knows her strengths after her seasons on Saturday Night Live.   She carries this movie, writing hilarious situations and dialogue not only for herself but for her cast-mates as well.

Maya Rudolph is the straight man throughout most of the film and she and Wiig have terrific girlfriend chemistry.  It’s easy to believe in their long history and their mutual trust, despite the disasters that seem to be around every wedding planning corner.  Byrne as Helen is perfectly, nauseatingly fabulous in every way.  Evil enough to be the nemesis, but not so evil that we wonder why the hell Lillian would ever be her friend.

Joining the main trio are Ellie Kemper (Erin from The Office) playing, well, Erin from The Office and Wendy McClendon-Covey as Rita, the stay at home mother who would really like to just drink and misbehave during this whole wedding thing.  Last but not at all least is Melissa McCarthy as Megan, sister of the groom.  Holy God she’s hilarious.  She looks like Ricky Gervais’ masculine sister.  She has no inhibitions whatsoever and for that I can only love her.  Nothing can possibly adequately describe Megan except that she’s the gross friend that appears in a lot of Apatow movies, but a girl.  And funnier in every way.

There are a number of scenes in Bridesmaids that go on longer than is at all advisable.  In most movies that’s the kiss of death, and a lot of those movies are big screen vehicles for SNL stars.  So how does Bridesmaids manage not to sink under that weight?  Honestly, I have no idea.  Family Guy does the same thing.  I think it’s a matter if intention.  Wiig and director Paul Feig aren’t floundering in those scenes, they know exactly when they should stop and simply choose to go on, getting sillier and more outrageous by the second.  It’s quite a gamble to take and it pays off big.  One particular incident involving a bridal salon and Jordan Almonds nearly had me in tears.  I haven’t laughed that hard in a theater in years.

Bridesmaids may be the first really successful and funny R-rated comedy with a female lead and a traditionally feminine theme I’ve ever seen.  Kristen Wiig is hilarious and the rest of the ensemble cast rises to her level by letting go of any inhibitions and playing their roles with the kind of exuberant, adolescent glee usually reserved for men.  Feig knows exactly how much talent he has assembled and gives them every opportunity to misbehave.  I can’t wait to get my hands on the DVD and see the out-takes, bloopers and even making-of featurettes and commentary.  5 stars for the sleeper hit of the summer.

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