Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bridesmaids - 2011

"Bridesmaids" - 2011
Dir. by Paul Feig - 2 hrs. 5 min.

Official Trailer

Thank goodness!  Not because I was worried that it wouldn't be as funny as I'd been led to believe - this batch of actresses led by Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph could polish just about any turd.  And not because I was worried that it would be too girly - the characters are well-rounded enough to not need to be pigeonholed into a standard issue chick flick.  No, thank goodness that this was a really good comedy.

The plot is something of a combination of "Knocked Up" and "The Hangover," and just happens to star women.  I can't stress that enough, this is not a "Sex in the City" situation, and I feel kind of yucky for having to emphasize that.  At the same time, the fact that I feel it's necessary to do so says a lot about how infrequently comedies are made with female leads.  Wiig plays Annie, who's childhood friend (Lillian, played by Maya Rudolph) gets engaged.  Annie gets Maid of Honor duties, which plays in direct contrast to how Annie's life is playing out.  A string of bad luck has her dumped, working at a jeweler (instead of running her own pastry business, which went under), rooming with a pair of creepy British siblings with boundary issues, and being third on Don Draper's booty-call list.  Like "Knocked Up," she's in over her head, and like "The Hangover," her precarious footing leads to a series of events that would be considered bottoming out, if they weren't soon to be trumped by a new low.

The thing that really made this comedy tick for me is that while the things that happen are kind of outrageous, the actresses largely react how you'd expect people to react in a similar situation.  It also helps that the batch of bridesmaids (Wiig, Rudolph, Jessica St. Clair as Wiig's rival, Reno 911's Wendi McLendon-Covey, Elie Kemper, and Melissa McCarthy) are all distinct personalities that behave in distinct ways.  I can't stress that enough - it's enough of a problem in male-oriented comedies (there's always an overabundance of indistinguishable quick-witted jackasses who's only differing character traits are their stature in these kinds of movies) that it almost feels revolutionary here.  That's not a condescending pat on the head, either.  It's acknowledging some really fucking good writing and comedic performances.  If it were easy to do that, there'd be a million films this good and this funny.  But there aren't, and "Bridesmaids" makes it look kind of easy.

By my count, this is a really funny comedy that's sharply written, full of great performances (I need to also single out Melissa McCarthy - she was a riot in every scene), and just flat out works.  I'm pretty eager to watch this one again, which is as good of a compliment to a comedy as I can offer.  So, you know, maybe go check this one out if you get the chance.

4 / 5 - Theatre

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