Review: Bridesmaids

Standard

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+

About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

3 responses »

  1. I’ve never found Wiig funny. I can see her as a talented performer in that she goes all out, but she’s not funny and always annoying. Plus, I’m against the film cause it screwed me over in AGEBOC.

  2. From the relatively little I’ve seen of Wiig, have to agree. She got praise for her performance in ‘Ghost Town’, but I found her painfully unfunny, the worst aspect of the film. As you say she gives her all but I think that’s the problem as she seems to be trying too hard almost.

  3. Saw this over the weekend… and from my previous knowledge of Apatow-influenced comedies it was pretty much as I expected. While it does have some laughs and occasional insightful moments, that was largely lost in a poorly-plotted film full of overextended comic bits and standard ‘outrageous’ behaviour which basically covers up how conservative and conventional it all is.

    The biggest problem with the film imo was that the central character played by Wiig wasn’t really sympathetic, let alone likable. As JS says above, who would feel sorry for her after the way she acted at the bridal shower?

    And this film just confirmed my earlier stated opinion that Wiig – while not without talent – I just don’t find that funny. I didn’t find Rudolph particularly amusing either – the most amusing peformances were done by supporting players like Hamm and McCarthy.

    There were some good scenes (e.g. the engagement party scene JS refers to) but comic bits are way overextended and excessive (e.g. Wiig cracking up on plane, Wiig doing crazy acts in car to get attention of policeman) so they become a chore to watch.

    As well, for a film I kept reading was getting praise for being refreshingly realisitic, the closing stages were pure formula fantasy. After all that went on in the film, is the final conversation in the bedroom between Wiig or Rudolph believable on any level?

    To be fair I didn’t hate this film, it was a tolerable time-waster, there was occasional bright moments. But this is yet another Apatow-related film that has been absurdly overpraised.

    Rating: C

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