Bridesmaids Review

The marketing for Bridesmaids might lead you to believe that it’s an all-female rendition of The Hangover – and to an extent, it is. Judd Apatow is an executive producer, there are jokes about people vomiting and defecating, and there’s a larger than life sidekick who seems a little ‘off’ mentally. But in the end this film is a much more like a traditional romantic comedy than it is The Hangover. Sure, it starts out wacky and zany with a bunch of odd-ball characters engaging in gross-out and physical comedy, but just as all this is getting a bit over the top the movie slows down and turns into a straight up romantic comedy.
What are they looking at? Cris O'Dowd, butt naked.
Bridesmaids tells the story of Annie (Kristen Wiig), a 30-something woman whose life is stuck in a rut. Prior to the events of the film her small bakery went out of business, lost to the recession and with it went much of Annie’s pride and confidence in herself. She now works in a jewellery store, begrudgingly selling engagement rings to couples whose happiness only reminds her of own failure of a love life. Her only ‘romantic’ relationship is with Ted(Jon Hamm), who calls her up, tells her she’s beautiful, sleeps with her, then politely asks her to leave. The only time Annie actually seems happy is when sharing the company of her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph). 
Fun fact: Kristen Wiig is also a professional palm reader.
When Lillian tells her she’s engaged to a wealthy banker Annie acts over the moon and celebrates with her best friend, but inside she’s dying. The fear of losing her best friend and of being alone, left at the mercy of the Ted’s of the world is what sets up most of the comedy, and tragedy in this film. 

It begins at the engagement party. Lillian has made Annie maid of honour, responsible for arranging the bridal shower, the bachelorette party and making a speech at the engagement party. Before speeches though Annie is introduced to Lillian’s other Bridesmaids. There’s the world weary Rita(Wendi McLendon-Covey) who’s sick of her husband’s sex drive, the young and naive Becca (Ellie Kemper), and the butch eccentric type Megan (Melissa McCarthy) who’s sort of a female version of Allan from The Hangover.

Then Annie’s introduced to Helen (Rose Byrne), and alarm bells begin to ring. Helen is one of those people most ordinary folks just naturally despise. She’s gotten rich by marrying a much older man, she’s, graceful, attractive, good at seemingly everything and clearly full of herself. Lillian adores Helen and this makes Annie even more insecure.

When Annie delivers a mundane but heartfelt speech at the engagement party Helen steps up and says a few words to much more approval, so Annie steps up again, then Helen, then Annie, and so on. Thus begins the rivalry that ultimately starts to unravel Annie, and leads from one hilarious mishap to another; and for the most part the humor in Bridesmaids works really well.

Again, Chris O'Dowd, naked, right outside the frame.
Kristen Wiig gives a great performance as Annie. Being British I’d never seen any of her SNL material, so was very pleasantly surprised by her great sense of timing and the naturalness of her performance, but also the level of emotional resonance her performance carries.

However, not all the comedy moments in Bridesmaids are pulled off successfully. One scene in particular involving the bride and her maids really needing the toilet just felt far too obvious and far too lowbrow compared to the more quirky off the wall brand of humor used in the rest of the movie.

I described the film as a rom-com in the opening so I should probably mention that rounding out the cast is Chris O'Dowd as police officer Nathan Rhodes. O'Dowd plays the stereotypical ‘nice guy’ in the film, but his and Wiig’s quirky lines and good chemistry make their ‘will they won’t they’ relationship feel more engaging than those in your average romantic comedy film.

Bridesmaids is the best comedy movie of the year so far. It far exceeds The Hangover 2 on an emotional level, telling a story with some genuine emotional involvement; and it surpasses it in terms of humor, with a great deal of laughs from start to finish.