1. People being awkward.
2. People sick or in pain.
3. Bodily functions.
4. Stupid situations met with even stupider situations which snowball into one gigantic, stupid mess.
Yep. I just described pretty much every big-name comedy to come out since 1998’s There’s Something About Mary (which I hated, by the way). This is all to explain why I just rolled my eyes a lot when everyone started talking about Bridesmaids. I like that it was a female-driven comedy making big bucks, of course, but I got the impression that it was mostly more of the same, and I was really wasn’t very interested. I think I finally decided to give it a shot when it actually got some award-season love; I do enjoy Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph, and I don’t have anything particular against Kristen Wiig. So, I watched Bridesmaids. I didn’t think it was the most hilarious thing ever, but I did like it. So maybe I do have some kind of sense of humor left?
Annie (Wiig) has been hit hard by the recession. Her bakery went under, her boyfriend left her, she’s in a really crappy roommate situation, and she’s working at a lousy job. So, when her best friend Lillian (Rudolph) gets engaged and asks her to be the maid-of-honor at her wedding, she has to work pretty hard to feel any real enthusiasm. Her troubles really begin when she gets into a game of one-upswomanship with Helen (Rose Byrne), another bridesmaid who clearly thinks she should be running the show. What follows is a series of unfortunate events as Annie tries to plan all of the various occasions that take place in the lead-up to a wedding. A lunch and dress-shopping expedition ends in food poisoning for most of the bridal party, which includes Ellie Kemper as a wide-eyed newlywed, Wendi McClendon-Covey as her polar opposite, and Melissa McCarthy as Lillian’s masculine sister-in-law-to-be. A trip to Vegas for a bachelorette party winds up with the party being removed from the plane, and when Helen appropriates Annie’s idea for the bridal shower, all hell breaks loose and Annie hits a new low. Naturally, you can expect a sincere pep talk (courtesy of McCarthy’s Megan) and a shiny, happy ending, complete with love interest, in this case an adorable cop played by Chris O’Dowd.
It’s a cute movie. Kristen Wiig is likable and believable as Annie, and she and Rudolph have a solid chemistry. McCarthy does indeed steal the show, and I enjoyed Rose Byrne’s character as well. I think that the performances and the story were the movie’s main strengths. The broad outline is not particularly original, but comedies don’t need originality of plot as much as a new or different perspective, and in that sense, Bridesmaids is successful. It was very fresh and current and definitely hit the nail on the head with regard to the ridiculousness that is the wedding industry. It was clearly written from a woman’s point of view, and I appreciated that. It suffered a bit (for me) from the utilization of those items on my list of not-funny things and from what I call “SNL Syndrome”: the tendency to keep a gag running about two minutes past the point where it stops being amusing.
All in all, I really enjoyed the movie, but I sort of think that it actually could have been just as successful were it not set up as a “blockbuster comedy”. Does that make me a stick-in-the-mud? I liked the characters and would have welcomed a bit more development and insight into them instead of a big scene involving poop and fancy gowns. The film’s message, too, was relevant, indentifiable, and well-presented. I guess that’s really my one complaint: I thought it was a fun, cute movie that involved some parts I didn’t think were funny, and therefore could have lived without. I have to wonder, a bit, if those scenes are really what made the movie a huge success, or if maybe people were actually sympathizing with the realistic characters and relate-able story instead. Did you see Bridesmaids? What did you think?
Oh, a final, girly note: I mostly spent the whole movie exclaiming over Kristen Wiig’s wardrobe and hair. I need both. Seriously.