Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Melissa McCarthy, Matt Lucas, Jill Clayburgh, Rebel Wilson, Terry Crews, Michael Hitchcock
RunTime: 2 hrs 4 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scene and Coarse Language)
Official Website: http://www.bridesmaidsmovie.com/
Opening Day: 21 July 2011
Synopsis: This spring, Universal Pictures and producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) invite you to experience Bridesmaids. Kristen Wiig leads the cast as Annie, a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), and a group of colorful bridesmaids (Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper) on a wild ride down the road to matrimony. Annie’s life is a mess. But when she finds out her lifetime best friend is engaged, she simply must serve as Lillian’s maid of honor. Though lovelorn and broke, Annie bluffs her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals. With one chance to get it perfect, she’ll show Lillian and her bridesmaids just how far you’ll go for someone you love.
A little more than five years ago, Judd Apatow reinvented the comedy wheel in Hollywood with the genre-changing ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’, and with his subsequent comedies introduced the ‘bromance’ that would soon become the template for some of the most successful comedies in recent time (like ‘The Hangover’). But even if the male gender has always been typically associated with raunch, there’s no reason why the opposite sex can’t have the same naughty fun too.
So Apatow has this summer led the charge by producing what is certain to be the start of a new wave of comedies in Hollywood- the raunch-com but with females- and judging by the results of this fresh, funny and heart-warming movie, it’s a winning formula. Indeed, if you think that this is some brainless chick flick, you’re sorely mistaken- after all, which chick flick opens with its female lead having sex in six different positions with a guy and getting all exhausted later?
But the sheer audacity of this opening scene is thanks to the fearlessness of ‘Saturday Night Live’ alum Kristen Wiig, whose penchant for broad comedy works beautifully here in the role of Annie, a single unhappy woman from Milwaukee who becomes increasingly unhinged after learning that her lifelong best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) has just been engaged. Unfortunately for Annie, she’s stuck in a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship with her narcissistic f**k-buddy Ted (a suitable slimy sleazy Jon Hamm from TV’s ‘Mad Men’).
Not only does she have to contend with her own envy and self-loathing, Annie also has to compete for attention with her fellow overachieving bridesmaid- the rich, thin, egotistical sister of the groom Helen (Rose Bryne). The rest of the ensemble- Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), Becca (Ellie Kemper) and the hilariously uncouth Megan (Melissa McCarthy)- are just caught in the crossfire. It’s a cat fight all right- beginning with a toast to the bride at the engagement party that sees both Annie and Helen trying to one-up the other at having the last word and culminating in Lillian’s bridal shower party.
In between, the gags come fast, furious and dirty- and yes, we mean the last literally since there is a particularly appalling post-meal sequence that sees some major bodily discharge both in a boutique bathroom as well as in the middle of a busy road. This and another ribald sequence set atop a plane 30,000 feet in the air with an inebriated Annie is classic Apatow humour, so yes those of you who are worried that Apatow might have lost his mojo with the genre switch can rest easy.
But more than simply proof that the ladies can do gross humour just as well as the lads, Wiig and her co-screenwriter Annie Mumolo weave some genuine emotion into the story. Annie wants the same life her best friend Lillian has- but when that seems out of reach, and even her coveted relationship with Lillian is now threatened by Helen, it’s not hard to see why she fights so studiously to cling on to that position. The talented Wiig plays Annie with a surprisingly amount of depth, and the right mix of zest and vulnerability to let her audience empathise with her character’s predicament.
Wiig is also served perfectly by first-time director Paul Feig, who exhibits great comedic sense no doubt honed from his work on Apatow’s TV shows ‘Freaks and Geeks’. Dare we say too that Feig may be a better director than Apatow in his ability to ensure that scenes do not last past their welcome, or for that matter past their punchlines. And of course, compliments to Feig for possessing admirable empathy and sensitivity for each one of his female characters, so much so that even Helen doesn’t come across as someone to be despised.
With unexpected warmth, ‘Bridesmaids’ proves to be more than just the opposite gender’s answer to ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’, ‘Knocked Up’ and ‘The Hangover’. It has plenty of heart at the sweet centre of an otherwise bawdy movie, the honesty about female friendships and insecurities insightful and refreshing. But guys, don’t let that turn you away- there’s loads of R-rated humour to be had here, and for once, this may be the rare raunch-com that you’ll enjoy as much as your date.
(The female answer to the male-dominated raunch-com, ‘Bridesmaids’ is fresh, funny and genuinely heart-warming)
Review by Gabriel Chong