Bridesmaids (2011) – Review

“Do you want to tell a cop about it? We’re just like priests except we would tell everybody afterwards” – Bridesmaids is good but has received much more credit than it deserves – 6/10

Dir. Paul Feig

Bridesmaids has received a wealth of positive criticism and been surprisingly successful at the Box Office despite being up against high profile summer releases such as The Hangover: Part 2, the final Harry Potter and Transformers 3. Inevitably, because of the extent of the accolades this film has received, I went into the theatre pondering: A) Is this film as good as everyone says? And B) If it isn’t, then why all the praise? But before all that, let me explain what Bridesmaids is about.

The main character is called Annie (Kristen Wiig) and her best friend (Lillian, played by Maya Rudolph) is getting married. Annie responds to the news with a mixture of jealousy and excitement. At the wedding Annie is to be ‘maid of honour’ and she plunges herself into the role wholeheartedly but misguidedly. You see, Lillian has made a new friend called Helen (Rose Byrne) who appears to be trying to take over Annie’s role as best friend. Annie, who is Lillian’s lifelong friend cannot understand why they are getting on so well, I mean they’ve only known each other for like a few months!! The thing is, however, Helen is rich, glamorous and crucially, good at organising weddings. In stark contrast, Annie’s attempts at organising the requisite pre-wedding events are calamitous to say the least – with both cringe-making and amusing results. As Lillian and Helen become increasingly good friends, Annie feels sidelined and betrayed. On top of this Annie’s life in general is not going so great: her business failed, her boyfriend left her, her English housemates are weird and annoying, her male friend/guy she sleeps with sometimes (Ted, played by John Hamm) is a horrible bastard. On top of this she hates her job and her boss, her car is rubbish and she’s broke. So Annie’s life is going badly and she feels like her best friend status with Lillian is under threat. During the course of the film we see Annie behave in an increasingly insane manner in the run up to the wedding.

Bridesmaids is a comedy and it did make me laugh – that is the first box ticked. For example, the scene where a sudden bout of food poisoning ruins a dress fitting is rather amusing and it culminates in a particularly hilarious incident as Lillian breaks down in the middle of the street, with a wedding dress on, to relieve herself. In addition, Kristen Wiig – who also co-wrote the film – exhibits a fair amount of charm and comic flair. The real star, however, is Annie’s love interest, Officer Nathan Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd), who has some great lines and delivers them in a wry and self-deprecating manner. In fact, his down-to-earth character is refreshing amongst a collection of caricatures.

The English room-mates are grotesque and ridiculous. Ted is completely over-the-top in how rude he is to Annie: “This is so awkward. I really want you to leave, but I don’t know how to say it without sounding like a dick” and “I wouldn’t want to make you explain what our relationship is to all those people. That would suck for you” are a couple of his lines. Undeniably, they’re not bad lines, but the problem is that there’s too much that’s over-the-top in this film; too many extreme, cartoon-esque characters. There is the naive newlywed, the cynical mother of three who’s bored of her husband, Helen is the spoilt princess-type, Megan (Melissa McCarthy) is the delusional fat one with no shame – a rip-off of Zach Galifianakis’ character in The Hangover. Even Officer Nathan Rhodes seems to be THE most down to earth guy EVER! With whom Annie predictably ends up.

The whole film is a bit too obvious and runs very predictably – basically it lacks subtlety. This, of course, is exactly what we have come to expect from an Apatow movie and I don’t have any particular problem with that. Apatow Productions has produced some very funny films and entertained excellently over the last few years. I have a problem, however, with the extent of critical acclaim this film has received. In short, it isn’t that good. So then, why all the praise? I think possibly it’s because Bridesmaids is written by women and features women doing blokey jokes – ones involving poo, farts and fat people – and there’s a feeling that this should be encouraged. Maybe not, but that’s my theory. You can make up your own mind. Certainly Wiig should be encouraged, she seems pretty good; but then again, people from the Saturday Night Live team usually are.

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