Everyone loves a wedding, unless of course you’re Kristen Wiig in BRIDESMAIDS. The new ensemble comedy composed entirely of female characters from producer Judd Apatow and director Paul Feig has hints of WEDDING CRASHERS and THE HANGOVER making it familiar but also refreshingly new and funny with the estrogen heavy cast. The runtime may prove a little bloated at times but BRIDESMAIDS still manages to be consistently entertaining and funny.
Annie (Kristen Wiig) is a down on her luck woman, working in a jewelry store after her bakery business fell victim to the recession and lives with dreadfully inconsiderate British roommates. Her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) suddenly gets engaged and asks her to be the maid of honor, which Annie of course accepts. Annie finds herself in an awkward position when one of Lillian’s wealthy friends starts throwing money into all aspects of the planning and creating a gap in Annie and Lillian’s friendship. Things just get worse and worse for Annie until she is forced to stand up and stop feeling sorry for herself.
Up until a week before the release BRIDESMAIDS just wasn’t a movie I was incredibly excited to see. The trailer made it look funny but I felt that all the good money shots were in the trailer. Sure, a good portion of them are in the trailer but there’s quite a few laugh out loud moments in addition to the ones from the trailer. There are also quite a few shots from the trailer that aren’t even in the movie, but nothing that I thought would have made it any funnier. Some of the best moments are the small sometimes unnoticed “under-her breath” snide remarks or comments Kristen Wiig makes in certain situations, similar to her bit parts from KNOCKED UP and FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL. The whole cast though gets to join in the hoopla along the way though.
What I loved the most about BRIDESMAIDS was the commitment to lingering and dragging out some of the most awkward and uncomfortable moments of the film. I’m referring to the dueling speeches at the engagement party and the drug induced shenanigans on a mid air Vegas flight. These scenes go on way too long and I think that’s the genius of it; rather than skating on easy street it pushes the material passed audience’s willingness to go along with the characters and the ones that embrace the over-the-top awkwardness will truly get a kick out of it.
There’s also a sense of honesty about the way characters react to certain situations. Even in the outrageous comedy moments there’s always a hint that there is something true about the motivations of characters actions, the slapstick comedy just re-enforces the audiences awareness that this is still a raunchy R rated comedy. The drama between the characters is both believable and exaggerated especially with the rivalry between Helen and Annie. Rose Byrne’s portrayal of Helen is obnoxious to cartoonish villain heights. The bridal shower that brings about Kristen Wiig’s height of frustration is so utterly ridiculous that the events that follow are all the more hilarious and uncomfortable to watch and as the scene ends, there’s still a sense of drama to it.
Kristen Wiig is the main reason to head out and see BRIDESMAIDS. She has great comedic timing and has a real fun presence on screen and chemistry with all the characters. I just enjoyed listening for all the lines she says under her breath that takes a little extra effort to pay attention to when everyone is laughing at a previous gag or joke. Wiig, Byrne, Maya Rudolph are the three main characters and the rest of the group have small moments to shine but of them Melissa McCarthy as Megan is the one tasked with most outrageous of comedy moments even though everyone has their hand in the cookie jar.
I complain about the length of the film only because at times it does feel long. However, it’s long because BRIDESMAIDS chronicles the engagement and the wedding and everything in between. That includes the bachelorette party, planning, engagement party, dress fitting, relationship drama, sex and the relationship between friends. With all that stuff running rampant throughout the film I think it’s a wonder that all I am mildly down on is the length. With all these subjects it’d be just as easy to hammer ANY of them for being half baked or misguided, but they all work and fit in nicely with the film.
Initially I was tempted to call BRIDESMAIDS extremely shallow due to the demeanor of several characters but that it was consistently entertaining. However, as the film progressed the script and the actresses became very enjoyable and much deeper than I wanted to give them credit for. Kristen Wiig is fantastic but the ensemble overall has fantastic and energetic chemistry. I love BRIDESMAIDS for embracing the crazy mix of over-the-top comedy, gross out gags and awkward comedy/drama and coming out being both heartfelt and goofy. I also have to commend the filmmakers for serving up a female dominant cast in a film that involves squabbling and arguing and not making every character sound like a male dog whistle. Overall, BRIDESMAIDS fits in pretty well in the Apatow universe and is a delightfully funny and raunchy romp no matter what gender you belong to.