Monday, May 16, 2011
As mentioned, Annie (Kristen Wiig) is seriously down and out, which can mostly be attributed to her lazy self pity. Since her bakery business went under, she works a dead-end job behind a jewelry counter. Since she doesn’t want to put the time in to find a proper man, she answers late-night calls to her douche bag man toy (Jon Hamm). And on and on. But once her best friend (Maya Rudolph) announces her engagement, Annie puts her problems aside to deliver the perfect pre-wedding festivities with a newly-assembled collection on bridesmaids.
There is no better compliment to pay a comedy than that of lost time. To explain: when you see a comedy in the theatre – a good comedy, that is – you may be fortunate enough to come across a scene that is so hysterical, that the audience’s laughter completely drowns out the film’s dialogue. To say that I lost time in Bridesmaids is a gross understatement. For example, I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what was said during the scene in which the gals attempt to pick a bridesmaid dress for the wedding. Five minutes, completely lost through gasps of breath and streaming tears of laughter.
Taking full, but not overly crude, liberties with its R rating, Wiig and writing partner Annie Mumolo have drafted a script that makes for the best comedy in recent memory, not to mention the best Judd Apatow-produced feature since, well… possibly ever. But there’s something else here, too.
Bridesmaids manages to do something that nearly all other romantic comedies ignore: make its characters human. Usually, the new love interest of the main character would be played by someone like, say, Jon Hamm. A perfect-looking man tailored specifically to sweep our hurting dame off her feet. But really, how often does a lady nab the “perfect” guy? Instead, Bridesmaids casts actors that actually look like, and share faults with, normal people. The groom is slightly overweight, the roommates are oddly shaped, the men have receding hairlines, the women have imperfect skin; it all accumulates to a glorious breath of fresh air. Finally, a comedy that actually casts people who look, and act, like people we know.
Wiig has stolen scenes in a number of films including Knocked Up, Adventureland, and Extract, and basically owned Saturday Night Life since she debuted in 2005. And although she’s mostly been on the sidelines of feature films, her acting and writing in Bridesmaids should finally catapult her to the A list status she so deserves. She’s the funniest woman in the business (sorry, Ms. Fey), and it’s time to seriously let her freak flag fly.
Now, while I love Kristen Wiig (and believe me, I love Kristen Wiig), the real showstopper in Bridesmaids is Melissa McCarthy, who plays the groom’s overweight, tell-it-like-it-is sister.
Take, for example, a scene late in the film, in which Wiig and McCarthy sit on a couch and contemplate all of life’s troubles. At the start of the scene, McCarthy spins into a hilarious bit of physical comedy, before delivering a slew of perfectly-timed lines. But then something strange happens. Subtly, McCarthy smoothly slips into a monologue that is so tender and earnestly heartfelt, it’s enough to make the toughest viewer misty eyed. The scene immediately shifts from being insanely funny to genuinely emotional. I’ve never experienced that during a movie before. A