Okay, I laughed at Bridesmaids, and found it funny enough to give a passing grade. But as the film recedes in my memory (I saw it on Saturday) I find myself remembering the things that annoyed me more than those that amused me.
The talk about this film seems to center on how this is a raunchy, rude comedy that features women, and women seem to have responded in kind by attending in great numbers. Fair enough, but is it a mark of pride to know that women can projectile vomit and get diarrhea? It reminds me of the old Virginia Slims ads, that told women they’d “Come a long way, Baby,” by being able to smoke cigarettes.
The film’s heroine is Kristen Wiig, as a woman who is so pathetic it borders on the pathological. I’ve liked Wiig in many small parts, but to get the lead she had to co-write this one. We start by seeing her in sex scenes with Jon Hamm, and I suppose if I were a woman writing a film, I’d write that in, too. Anyway, Hamm is just a fuck-buddy, though she would like a relationship, even if he is a tool.
Wiig’s best friend since childhood, Maya Rudolph, announces her engagement and asks Wiig to be her maid of honor. The conflict in the film will come when a more recent friend of Rudolph’s, the seemingly perfect Rose Byrne, worms her way in and pushes Wiig aside. There is a funny scene in which the two try to one-up each other by giving speeches at the engagement party.
It’s a good set-up, and there are plenty of laughs (the one I may have appreciated the most may fly under the radar of most–it’s a reference to a Brady Bunch episode). But the film just tries too damn hard. Wiig, for example, is such a sad sack–over the course of the film she will lose her job, get kicked out of her apartment, get removed from an airplane, and ruin Rudolph’s bridal shower. When Rudolph ends up kicking her out of her wedding, the sane audience member would heartily agree.
The film also does not completely avoid “chick flick” cliches. We get not one but two baking montages (Wiig is a terrific baker) and has an idealized Prince Charming (an Irish cop, in Milwaukee. of all places) who is perfect for Wiig if only she’d realize it.
I was also alternately baffled and charmed by the bridesmaid played by Melissa McCarthy, a rotund actress who plays the groom’s brother. I think what was intended was an alternative to the usual fat-girl sidekick roles in films like these, and McCarthy ends up playing a ballsy, outspoken, crude, sexually hungry woman. Some of that works, and she has some great lines, such “I love my brother, but let’s face it, he’s an asshole.” McCarthy gives it her all, but at times they push the envelope too far, such as her blocking the aisle on a plane in front of a man and raising her leg in a provocative manner. Really?
I should also note the appearance of Jill Clayburgh as Wiig’s mother. This must have been her last film, and it’s sad to watch, as she does not look well.
Bridesmaids is moderately amusing, with some genuine belly laughs. If women want to have their own Hangover, I suppose this will do, but somehow I think this won’t end up being the most culturally significant thing to occur this year.
My grade for Bridesmaids: C+