Reviews

Bridesmaids

4

Getting hitched has its hitches.

Bridesmaids review

Bride Wars, Made Of Honour, 27 Dresses: the bargain bins at your local DVD store are full to busting with wedding-themed rom-coms.

Chances are, though, that they don’t begin with their heroines having rampant rumpy with Mad Men’s Jon Hamm in a wide variety of positions.

They’re not likely to feature someone dropping the c-bomb, shitting in the street or puking on hair. Nor, if memory serves, do they include a scene in which a woman likens her undercarriage to a triple-decker sandwich.

Offended? Not to worry – there’ll be another Kate Hudson vehicle along any minute. Yet for those who don’t mind raunch dressing on their wedding cake, say hi to Bridesmaids: a gleefully crude addition to the Judd Apatow canon that proves beyond reasonable doubt you don’t need to be hung to have a Hangover.

There’s arguably something a little tokenist about Hollywood’s reigning comedy king magnanimously extending his patronage to the gentler sex, after spending most of the last decade turning the likes of Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill into slacker superstars. But it would be unfair to regard Paul Feig’s pic as if it were some belated afterthought. The Judd juggernaut may well have been motored by man-child tomfoolery but it hasn’t lacked the essential infusions of eye-catching oestrogen.

Wedding belles


Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids’ star and co-writer, is a case in point, having got her first big-screen break in Knocked Up, as Katherine Heigl’s bitchy co-worker. (Since then she’s also had cameos in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Apatow productions both.)

Rose Byrne has reason to be grateful too, her off-kilter casting in Get Him To The Greek as slutty rock-chick Jackie Q, opening up a whole new career path for the Troy and Damages actress.

Consider this latest offering, then, as the entrée to those earlier hors d’oeuvres. It may have been a while coming, but that doesn’t make it any less tasty.

It’s Wiig, by the way, who has that clinch with Don Draper, an extended bout of coitus that guarantees from the off you get some bang for your buck. No sooner has Jon had his fun, however, than Wiig is out on her ear – par for the course for luckless Annie, a failed baker reduced to sharing a house with two chubby siblings (Aussie Rebel Wilson and our own Matt Lucas) and hawking trinkets in Milwaukee’s version of H. Samuel.

Annie’s lot looks even sadder once her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announces she’s tying the knot and insists on her being Pippa to her Kate.

Cue a string of prenuptial prerequisites – engagement bash, gown fittings, hen weekend – seemingly designed to show up her inadequacy, especially when set against Lillian’s über-wealthy new gal pal Helen (Byrne) and her polished ease with espousal etiquette.

Girls behaving badly


Given the Tinseltown tendency to fetishise every clichéd aspect of the marital experience, Bridesmaids’ suggestion that matrimony is more an accumulation of inconvenient social obligations is positively revolutionary.

Yet this is as radical as Feig’s film gets, the seasoned TV helmer getting most of his yuks by attributing archetypally “male” signifiers – boorishness, drunkenness, sexual licentiousness – to his female characters and cranking up the Annie-Helen rivalry at every opportunity. Party toasts, tennis, bridal shower gifts – it’s all one big catfight for this adversarial pair. Hmm: maybe we’re not so far away from Bride Wars after all.

The big difference, of course, is that this film is funny – a testament not only to Wiig’s tireless willingness to make a plank of herself (the electric-gate gag is priceless), but also to game co-stars who take visible pleasure pushing the taste envelope.

The standout here is Melissa McCarthy, a rotund bundle of coarse impropriety who, as mannish, debauched vulgarian Megan, goes all out to be this flick’s Zach Galifianakis.

Rudolph has her moments too, the Saturday Night Live stalwart bringing enough kooky vivaciousness to Lillian to ensure she’s no mere passenger in the ensuing craziness.

OK, so the other two bridesmaids – harassed housefrau Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and mousy newlywed Becca (Ellie Kemper) – rather get lost in the crush. And don’t even ask about the groom: he scarcely gets a credit, let alone a line.

Chris O’Dowd fares better as Officer Rhodes, a traffic cop who becomes Annie’s confidante and boyfriend over the course of a leisurely two and a bit hours. It is worth noting, though, that his role – needy, kindly, easily wounded – is very much the “girl” part in this gender-reversed confection.

Sisters might be doing it for themselves this time out, but you don’t have to dig too deep to find a stereotype.

Verdict:

It’s uneven, unwieldy and overlong, but if it’s yucks you’re after you’ll find them in abundance in a side-splitting comedy that lifts the veil on every wedding’s unsung heroines.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • ugetwild

      Jun 16th 2011, 13:00

      5

      This is such a funny film, I would pay 2 go see it again.

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    • FBTYoung

      Jun 16th 2011, 13:02

      5

      oh come on guys - forget about The Hangover - here come the girls - more laugh out lines- more sn****rs than in a snicker bar so funny Megan - HERO so so so so funny - crude rude and funnier than a donkey on a surfboard see 2 previews so far - goung on my third on Tuesday -

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    • wolverina2411

      Jun 16th 2011, 13:05

      Very fun, a bit gross but such a good fun. and proved friendship worth more than millions $$$ you have ;)

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    • jgmcmahon

      Jun 16th 2011, 14:04

      3

      first time i sat thru a chick flick laugh fest - would recommend it to females who going by the reaction of those around us thot it a hoot - laughed out loud myself quite a bit - its no hangover( i mean the original)and i found it a tad overlong.

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    • dumdumboy

      Jun 16th 2011, 14:22

      4

      Definitely forget the 'Hangover' comparisons, they are trite and obsolete...for a start 'Bridesmaids' is actually funny! Kristen Wiig is a star! It may be uneven and a tad long but, jeez, so are most movies made these days! (okay 'Buried' and 'Them' possible exceptions on the length front...and 'There Will Be Blood' definite exception on the uneven front!). This is laugh-out-loud stuff. Melissa rocks (again forget the Zack reference, her performance is atypical and fresh, not lazy and obvious) and Chris is wonderful as the highway cop. Forget the slightly cod 'friendship conquers all' motif and just enjoy the comedic talent on display (you won't forget the bridal dress shop scene for a long time!) Go see

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    • KimBroad

      Jun 16th 2011, 14:34

      Hilarious film, started funny and the laughs continued throughout the film. Everyone in the cinema enjoyed the film, including the men. As good as Hangover, enough said!

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    • GillyFran

      Jun 16th 2011, 15:11

      5

      A must see film its hilarious, loved it and laughed all the way through the film ,best film I have seen in years, everyone in the screening was in stitches , I have recommended it to everyone that will listen .10 out of 10 perfect

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    • etzioni

      Jun 16th 2011, 15:32

      3

      Very funny! I was initially unsure if I’d like this 'chick-flick rom-com' - how wrong was I? This movie is not like that at all. Very funny border gross out comedy but with women. This movie proves that comediennes can be as funny or funnier than male comedians. Recommended for a good laugh

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    • etzioni

      Jun 16th 2011, 15:32

      3

      Very funny! I was initially unsure if I’d like this 'chick-flick rom-com' - how wrong was I? This movie is not like that at all. Very funny border gross out comedy but with women. This movie proves that comediennes can be as funny or funnier than male comedians. Recommended for a good laugh

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    • pturner1010

      Jun 16th 2011, 16:13

      4

      Synopsis: Down-on-her-luck Annie becomes maid of honour for her best friend Lillian’s wedding. Fighting and bonding with the other bridesmaids, Annie attempts to deliver the best wedding she can. Kristen Wiig is officially a comedy Goddess. The co-writer and star of Bridesmaids takes centre stage after years on American television’s Saturday Night Live and being sidelined with smaller roles in recent comedies like Paul and Date Night. Here she is barely off screen and is a hysterical joy to watch throughout. Funnier than the entire cast of The Hangover (either of them), she would be enough to single-handedly split your sides, but with an ensemble this brave and funny and writing this hilarious, Bridesmaids is a laugh-out-loud comedy that deserves to rule this summer. The sisters are doing it for themselves! Bridesmaids is very rude, occasionally very sweet and often a*s-clenchingly awkward. If you think gross-out comedy belongs to boys, wait till you see these girls at their dress fitting. If you think men being mean to women is funny, wait till you see it as written by a couple of women. If you think the writer/producers of films like The Hangover push the boundaries of taste, wait till you see these girls get angry. But most of all if for some reason you think women, can’t be funny, give yourself a slap and go see this film! The story might follow a fairly conventional path with the romantic-comedy trimmings resulting in an ending that lacks much surprise. However the narrative is tightly constructed and Annie really ‘hits bottom’ (allowing for countless awkward and self-deprecating moments) before the film delivers its predictable resolution. The script is brilliantly written with a touching and believable relationship between the two best friends, Annie and Lillian. The comic set-pieces escalate in a consistently hysterical fashion, standouts being the dress fitting and a plane journey that allows Wiig to show off what a gifted comedy performer she is. The script crackles with witty and memorable dialogue, much of it delivered by Wiig, but the supporting cast all get their own moments to shine as realistic and funny characters. The best reason to see this film is Wiig. There is nothing she won’t do in this film for a laugh. Whether it’s flailing her legs in the air in the opening sex scene, toilet humour, acting drunk, selfishly ruining parties, or swearing at a young woman, all vanity is left behind. Wiig’s performance is consistently hilarious. As writer she has rightly put herself up-front, giving her a vehicle to finally show off her comedic prowess. The supporting cast are excellent with particular standouts being Melissa McCarthy as Megan (in another unflinchingly funny/awkward performance) and Chris O’Dowd as a sweet cop. However despite the presence of a couple of male British TV stars (O’Dowd and Matt Lucas), the women get all the best lines and even Matt Lucas is totally outshone by his look-a-like ‘sister’ in the film. All give solid, believable and occasionally completely over the top performances, but they are anchored by a sweet script that (like so many other Judd Apatow produced/directed movies) isn’t afraid to poke and prod at the state of people trapped in unhappy marriages. Paul Feig directs effectively, drawing riotous performances from the cast and keeping the pace brusque throughout. Like many recent comedies that are produced, directed or executive produced by Apatow, the film is over two hours, but unlike some others, Bridesmaids does not drag or sag after the half way mark and its story feels full and not overburdened by an abundance of improvisation. The film is a sweet look at female friendships, the madness that surrounds wedding preparation and could be seen to deal with the pressures put on modern women to conform, succeed (in both love and career) and above all get married! Wiig’s loveable loser clearly does not have enough respect for herself and the audience will find themselves rooting for her to make big changes in her life. However Bridesmaids is a comedy; there’s no message of self-empowerment and marriage and heterosexual romance are still held as the aspiration for modern women. Aside from the overly familiar romantic comedy elements the film should be enjoyed for the hilarious script and the performance of a brilliant ensemble of very funny, very entertaining women. It is hugely refreshing to see a film with female performers totally lacking in vanity that is this rude, this vulgar and this amusing. Written by women, starring mostly women but aimed squarely at both men and women, Bridesmaids deserves to be a huge comedy hit.

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    • marron134

      Jun 16th 2011, 17:54

      Loved it , although it was not the 'set in Las Vegas comedy that I expected , There were many laugh out loud moments as this intelligent but grossly offensive comedy revealed the depth of the various womens deepest feelings .

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    • Bren26

      Jun 16th 2011, 23:03

      2

      What a con this film is! Hamgover its not and never will be, maybe a cheap understudy the the Hangover 2 but on its own it was poor. Ran on 30 minutes too long, 2 bits to make you laugh but the rest was forgetable all the way. Went with a mixed group all who appreciate funny films and like to laugh out loud and not one of us thought this was worth the price of admission to see. Some decent actors held back by a lacklustre storyline, this could have been awesome if it tried a bit harder. In days gone by this would have been stright to DVD and surely would be if the Hangover and its ilk weren't such hot property. Its gets 2 out of 5 stars as this was a freebie thanks to the guys at TotalFilm, if I'd paid to watch it wouldn't have got more than 1 star.

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    • LMP82

      Jun 20th 2011, 13:01

      5

      Absolutely cracking film! I defy anyone that would label this a 'chick flick'! For me, it really represented how female friends really talk to each other and that, shock horror, girls ARE funny!! Lots of rib-tickling laughs.Can't wait to see it again!!

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    • ChrisWootton

      Jun 29th 2011, 15:16

      4

      Yeah it really annoys me when they compare this to the Hangover. It's a totally different film about friendship and relationships and was excellent. For a start it doesn't just go from one gross out gag to the next with nothing in between.. go and see it and have a good night out. As for Wiig... she is a f*****g comedy goldmine

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    • FBEXanthopoul

      Jan 21st 2012, 16:31

      4

      www.unsungfilms.com, by Angeliki Coconi An American comedy released in May 2011, Bridesmaids is written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo and directed by Paul Feig. A female-driven story, the film is the women’s version of The Hangover, only a lot funnier. Repetitive and tiring at times, the movie is still worth seeing for its intelligent script, its hilarious performances and its brutal honesty. Working in a jewellery store after the cake shop she owned with her boyfriend closed down, Annie (played by the writer herself, Kristen Wiig) is in a pretty bad place to begin with. After a tough break up and going out of business, she starts having “adult sleepovers” with a man who practically hates her. And on top of this, her mother has pretty much lost it, her flat-mates come from hell, and her best friend from childhood, Lillian (played by Maya Rudolph), announces her engagement which she is very excited about. Named the maid of honour, Annie has to meet and creatively interact with the other bridesmaids and close friends of Lillian’s, in order to prepare the perfect fairytale wedding. The film’s script keeps the laughs coming, and the main actress and writer, Kristen Wiig, is a pleasure to watch. I found myself laughing out loud on numerous occasions, as well as rewinding some of her bits, to watch them again. Her acting in Bridesmaids is perfect, with great comical timing resulting in a flawless delivery of her script. Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Jill Clayburgh and Chris O’Dowd are also very well-cast and extremely funny. However, apart from Kristen Wiig, what makes this film worth seeing, is the brilliant and mind blowing Melissa McCarthy… Being a big fan of Gilmore Girls, I only knew Melissa McCarthy because I knew her as, and thought she’d always be, Sookie St. James. But the second she appeared on the screen while watching Bridesmaids, Sookie was history, and Megan was here to stay. She made me laugh hysterically, and I have to admit, I never thought that this kind of frantic, unable-to-breath laughter could come from Melissa McCarthy. Not only was I proven wrong, but after the film ended, I had to put on an episode of Gilmore Girls, because I just had to have a bit more of her. Overall, the film’s first half is significantly better than the second, where the laughs kind of cease, and the story drags a bit. And of course, there are those times where the sense of humour becomes overly American, but by now we have come to terms with the fact that no movie is perfect. Still, what Bridesmaids leaves behind when it’s over, is not the second part, and it’s not the explicit, at times, comedy. On the contrary, the film leaves you with great admiration for Kristen Wiig, lines to quote forever more, and a refreshed feeling that finally at least one hilarious comedy came from a group of women, was written by a woman and is enjoyed because of how funny the women in it are. But what’s more, Bridesmaids leaves you worshipping Melissa McCarthy. Which you never thought would happen. Angeliki Coconi at www.unsungfilms.com

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    • SussexUK

      Feb 19th 2012, 1:38

      A truly awful film. Funny? Not if you have any sense of humour. Its the tragic and depressing story of a woman hitting "rock bottom" well not quite but near as they can get and because its a sad tragic story it takes away any comedy. Throw in some fart jokes, some throwing up and crapping and you can call it a comedy but it is truly truly dreadful. Avoid completely!

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