Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Bridesmaids (2011)

The much-hyped comedy is here...and it’s very good.

Image: Fohnjang Ghebdinga/Fohnhouse

There’s been a lot of discussion about the cultural significance of Bridesmaids. Many said it was proof that women could do a gross out comedy as well as men, while others felt that proof was never really needed. But the discussions would all be irrelevant if it wasn’t funny.

Annie (Kristen Wiig) is a mess. She’s in a purely sexual relationship with a man who’s a complete tool (Jon Hamm) and lost all her money when her bakery failed. When her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announces that she’s getting married, Annie agrees to be the maid of honour. However, as the pressure builds Annie can’t seem to put a foot right, especially compared to Lillian’s psychotically perfect new friend Helen (Rose Byrne).

Bridesmaids is a well-written, wonderfully performed comedy. Wiig (Paul) has deserved a big showcase for a long time and this shows that she is quite capable of carrying a movie on her shoulders. The script (by Wiig and Annie Mumulo) takes its time to build the characters, rendering Annie believable and sympathetic. While the film has several big slapstick moments (the much-discussed dress fitting scene is a disgusting highlight though not as graphic as reported), Bridesmaids' biggest success is the characters.

Director Paul Feig (creator of cult classic TV series Freaks and Geeks) keeps things relatively simple, giving his actors room to improvise and riff off each other. Wiig and Rudolph (Away We Go) worked together for several years on Saturday Night Live and are obviously very comfortable working with each other. Byrne (Insidious) is hilariously conniving as rich control freak Helen and Melissa McCarthy (The Nines) gets big laughs as unpredictable and sexually aggressive bridesmaid Megan. Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd) makes a surprisingly charming romantic interest as well as sparking nicely off Wiig while Hamm is wonderfully obnoxious as the boorish Ted.

Bridesmaids doesn’t exactly break with formula rules, but what it does is approach the genre in which it sits with intelligence and excellent performances. There are the gross-out bits, friends fall out and reconcile, and things generally go as you expect them to. But you know what? It’s very, very funny.

Kristen Wiig finally gets the platform she deserves and brings us a hilarious comedy.



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