Monday, May 16, 2011


Bridesmaids, one of the best, most hilarious comedies in years, tells the story of a down-on-her-luck, middle aged beauty who, despite recently being named maid of honor to her best friend’s wedding, can’t get over the fact that she doesn’t have what others do. And, if your philosophy concerning romantic comedies at all aligns with mine, then I know what you’re thinking: We’ve seen it all before. But believe you me, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

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.
It is no exaggeration to say that every line out of McCarthy’s mouth is better than the one before. In a cast of very talented individuals, McCarthy (whom I’ve only seen in seldom minor roles, but I’m told is great on CBS’ Mike & Molly) manages to steal every single one of her scenes, to the point that it should warrant her an Academy Award nomination.

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


  1. Thanks for this honest review. This may very well be the funniest movie I have ever seen and, yes, there was a good message to it as well. I will go see it again as I missed some lines due to me and the entire sold-out theater laughing loudly!

  2. B+. It's funny, well acted and well written. The chick flick that every man can love. But, and this is a big one, there is no direction, like in most comedies. And this is why I appreciate Edgar Wright. The guy just directs, ads a lot of fun to his movies: sound noises, visual tricks, visual jokes, things that other comedies miss. Don't get me wrong, I love Bridesmaids and many other great comedies, it's just that comedy isn't a very good genre.

    1. I definitely wouldn't give this a straight A today. B+ seems fair. McCarthy still cracks me up in it though. She's so good.

  3. I think this film gets better upon repeat viewings. I also agree that Melissa McCarthy was a real scene stealer and warranted her Supporting Actress nomination (possibily even a win) but I think Rose Byrne deserved to be in the conversation as well. She was also so good.

    1. It's still one of my favorite comedies. Period. And that emotional scene between McCarthy and Wiig stills gets me. Thanks for the comment!