Rating: 4 stars out of 5
This raunchy Judd Apatow-produced comedy has struck a chord with viewers by becoming the summer’s biggest sleeper hit, earning US$161 million on a slim US$32.5 million budget.
Saturday Night Live veteran Kristen Wiig takes the lead role of Annie, the anti-Sarah Jessica Parker, a loser in life living in Milwaukee who doesn’t have much luck with men, or even the rent. After the cake shop she opened in the middle of the recession closes down, she works at a sales job she hates and rooms with a pair of annoying British siblings.
When her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) gets married, she’s chosen as the maid-of-honour, but finds competition from the immaculate Helen (Rose Byrne). Helen is rich, dresses gorgeously and emotionally needy—both similar and utterly different from Annie.
The main setup for the film is the battle between Annie and Helen, who eagerly wants to replace Annie as maid of honour and become Lillian’s new best friend. There are also various subplots going on with the other bridesmaids: From the straight-laced Becca (Ellie Kemper) to unhappy mom Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey).
There are definitely far more laughs than the bigger comedy of the summer The Hangover 2, but Bridesmaids works hard to earn the chuckles. The story flows together well, and as one would expect, the humour ventures into the gross out, particularly to a dress fitting that goes horribly wrong.
Wiig, who co-wrote the screenplay with Annie Mumolo, does more than throw a bunch of set pieces together, as we’ve seen from numerous R-rated comedies these days.
Some jokes carry on a bit too long, such as a long set piece in an aircraft, and the film could have trimmed a little off its fat of 128 minutes. The female characters aren't too different from the assemblage of weirdos in male romantic comedies. The plump Megan comes across as a bigger female version of Ken Jeong from The Hangover, with weird behaviourial tics and constant forays into social unacceptable territory.
Still, Wiig definitely puts herself through hell over the course of the film, and there is truthfulness to the friendship between Annie and Lillian that forms its core. Byrne also adds a layer of depth to Helen: A step-wife who is mostly ignored by her husband and hated by her step-kids.
It's obvious to all that Jon Hamm, the friend-with-benefit whom Annie is riding at the start of the movie, is the wrong guy, and that the Irish-accented police officer Nathan Rhodes (Chris O’Down from The IT Crowd) that nabs Annie is the right one.
Bridesmaids is a smart female comedy that doesn’t overly pander, and while it does bear the marks of a typical romcom, particularly in its pat ending, Wiig and Feig manage to keep it away from the too-saccharine landscape of typical romantic comedies.
Bridesmaids shows the women can be as crass and funny as the men.