Today: April 18, 2024
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Bridemaids

More than just a chick flick, Bridesmaids is an insightful and well observed comedy. From the Judd Apatow stable – the man behind Knocked Up and Superbad donning his producers hat here – Bridesmaids offers up the flipside to The Hangover in a sense,

More than just a chick flick,
Bridesmaids is an insightful and well observed comedy.

From the Judd Apatow
stable – the man behind Knocked Up and Superbad donning his producers hat here – Bridesmaids offers up the flipside to The
Hangover
in a sense,
telling the story of two best friends, Annie (Kristen Wiig) and Lillian (Maya RudolphAway We Go), and the havoc that ensues when one is anointed maid of
honour at the other’s wedding. Penned by Saturday Night Live alumni Wiig, it
boasts laughs a plenty, yet it is the emotional honesty and strong characterisation
which makes it more than just a gag fest.

Kristen Wiig, recently seen spouting profanities at Simon
Pegg
in Paul, is down on her luck, perennially
ill-fated, 30-something Annie, still smarting over her ex who jumped ship when
the bakery they ran together went down the pan and seemingly unable to kick
start her life into action since in any meaningful way. Lillian is her best
friend, the two inseparable since childhood, so naturally when Lillian’s
boyfriend proposes, it’s Annie she calls on to be her maid if honour, only
everything Annie organises goes wrong as she tries to puzzle her way through
the pre-nuptials’ bizarre traditions. Not before long she’s fending off
competition for the prized wedding role from Rose Byrne‘s Helen, Lillian’s new friend-in-law, with her
designer dresses, country club membership and new monied life, who threatens to
take over not just Annie’s role in the wedding, but her role as best friend
too.

Pitching the hen party together as a gang of mismatched gals
– the bride-to-be and competing wedding planners are joined by the timid Becca
(Kemper), marriage-burdened Rita (McLendon-Covey) and brash Megan (McCarthy) – much of the comedy derives from the culture
clash escapades as the six vastly different characters rebound off one another.
The laughs come thick and fast, with a number of standout sequences (a doomed
dress fitting struck down by food poisoning and Annie’s face off with a
smart-mouthed customer in the jewellery store where she works are two such
highlights), the humour veering from observational to, with reference to the
aforementioned food incident, crudeness that would stun Apatow’s foul-mouthed
cohorts. The performances too excel from a cast with an impressive comedy
pedigree, and special mention goes to McCarthy’s turn as the outsider and
unpredictable Megan, scene-stealing shamelessly as she suggests Fight Club
bridal shower themes and indulges in carnal passions with an in-flight
acquantaince. However, it is the emotional honesty underpinning it all that
grounds the film with real meaning.

A finely observed portrait of female relationships – the
jealousy, rivalry and competition – the female characters are well drawn, their
problems relatable and, more importantly, their reactions just as much so. The
downfall though is that Wiig and co-scribe Annie Mumolo’s script is less
successful with its male characters. Much in the way that, say, Knocked Up’s
female characters were less roundly presented than their male counterparts, as
star Katherine Heigl publicly noted,
Bridesmaids’ men are bland and one note.
Annie’s booty call Ted (Mad Men‘s John Hamm) is a gawping goon, motivated by sex and oblivious
to anything and everything else, and love interest Rhodes (The IT
Crowd
‘s Chris
O’Dowd,
who serves up geekish loveability
and sincerity as an Irish-accented highway cop), while offering up a more
positive portrayal of the male species, is too thinly drawn to convince.

The tone too is occasionally uneven, and while some of the
gags fall a little flat (Annie and Helen outdoing each other with dinner
speeches outstays its welcome; Matt Lucas
extended cameo as Annie’s flatmate brings only the odd titter), it’s not enough
to dampen the party atmosphere as Bridemaids emerges as a superior comedy with
smarts to boot.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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