The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Bridesmaids

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4_Chicks_Small Judy Thorburn

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Bridesmaids

There was prior buzz about Bridesmaids being a female version of The Hangover since the film's producer is Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, 40 year Old Virgin and yes, The Hangover). Both movies are driven by friendships. Instead of a bunch of male buddies getting together for a road trip to Las Vegas prior to their main man taking the plunge into marriage, we have some gals uniting to celebrate the nuptials of the soon to be bride. And like all movies with Apatow's name attached you can expect some lewd humor and gross gags; only this time from a female perspective and cast of characters that are more believable.

Saturday Night Live cast member Kristen Wiig co-wrote Bridesmaids with her longtime friend Annie Mumolo and cast herself as the star, her first leading role in a major motion picture. Already established as a very funny and talented comedian, Wiig shows off her skills as a writer, showcases her multi faceted acting ability and gift for physical comedy, and is able to carry the film which is directed by Apatow collaborator Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks).

Set in Milwaukee, Wiig plays Annie, an attractive, thirty something single woman who is in a slump. She's lost her bakery business due to the recession, was dumped by her boyfriend, shares an apartment with two overweight, obnoxious British siblings (Rebel Wilson and Matt Lucas), dislikes her job as saleswoman in a jewelry store, drives a beat up old car, and thinking she can't do any better, is having an affair with a hot, but self centered cad (Jon Hamm) that uses her strictly for sex.

It doesn't help when her best friend since childhood, Lillian (former SNL regular Maya Rudolph, who shares believable chemistry with Wiig) announces she is getting married and wants Annie to be her maid of honor, which comes with a price, literally, that Annie can't afford since she can barely make ends meet.

Things go from bad to worse when when Annie is introduced to the other bridesmaids, an eclectic bunch of women, made up of rich and beautiful Helen (Rose Byrne) who is married to the boss of Lillian's fiance, the sweet but naïve Becca (Ellie Kemper, TVs The Office), Rita (Wendy McClendon-Covey), the blonde, unhappily married housewife and mother of two foul mouthed kids, and the groom's sister, an overweight, self confident and crass Megan (hilarious, Melissa McCarthy, star of TV's Mike and Molly).

From the moment they meet, Annie is jealous and afraid that Helen is replacing her as Lillian's new best friend. A competitive rivalry kicks into gear at the engagement party when Annie and Helen attempt to outdo each other during a toast for the soon to be bride.

Hoping to come through for her BFF, Annie tries to help out with the prenuptial events but unintentionally winds up botching up every activity. Her outing with the bridesmaids to a Mexican restaurant proves hilariously problematic for the gown fitting when food poisoning strikes and its a run for the nearest bathroom. The result is one the most gross, yet funniest scenes ever played out by women in film.

The events surrounding the bridal shower and aboard a flight to Las Vegas (where Annie tries to sneak into First Class) for the bachelorette party, all end up as incredibly funny mishaps or disasters, one worse than the other. It all begins to wear on the bride to be until Annie finds herself totally down and out.

One can't help but feel sympathy for Annie while laughing at her silly, embarrassing antics due to lack of self confidence. On the other end of the spectrum is tough as nails, Megan who says anything on her mind and isn't afraid to act upon what she feels or thinks. McCarthy is a total hoot in this role and a scene stealer with her outspoken, funny dialogue and tough butch-like actions, though it is made clear she definitely is horny for the opposite sex.

A love interest for Annie comes in the form of a tall, sweet mannered Irish born highway patrolman named Rhodes (appealing Irish actor Chris O 'Dowd). But even then, stuck in her insecure mindset, she tries to find a way to sabotage their budding romance.

Bridesmaids is one of the best comedies of the year, thanks to Wiig and her terrific, entire female ensemble cast that are at the top of their game. On a sad note, in what was to be her last film role,
the late Jill Clayburgh, appears briefly as Annie's artist mother who paints caricatures of celebrities.

Every woman can relate to the issues of self esteem, female friendships, relationships with the opposite sex, or being stuck in a rut. And, I like the fact that these Bridesmaids aren't stereotypes and behave like real people who often do foolish things. I can't help but mention, though she portrays someone on a downward spiral, Kristen Wiig is on an upward swing to movie stardom.