sat 18/11/2017

Bridesmaids | reviews, news & interviews

Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids

Monstrously funny gross-out humour with a woman's touch

Best friends: Lillian (Maya Rudolf, right) tells Annie (Kristen Wiig) she's getting married

If you have begun to tire of blokey-jokey films such as Wedding Crashers, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and The Hangover, then try this female-oriented movie that covers some of the same territory but from the distaff side. It’s well written and acted, and realistically portrays female friendships and how women really talk about men when they’re in all-female company - but most of all it is deliriously, side-splittingly, laugh-out-loud funny. Chick-flick it ain't.

If you have begun to tire of blokey-jokey films such as Wedding Crashers, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and The Hangover, then try this female-oriented movie that covers some of the same territory but from the distaff side. It’s well written and acted, and realistically portrays female friendships and how women really talk about men when they’re in all-female company - but most of all it is deliriously, side-splittingly, laugh-out-loud funny. Chick-flick it ain't.

Starring and co-written (with Annie Mumulo) by Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig, who recently turned in a nicely judged performance in PAUL, it’s about sad singleton Annie (Wiig) - broke, with a failed relationship and a failed business behind her, having a soulless, bad-sex relationship with fuck-buddy Mad Men's Jon Hamm (giving it large as a smarmy narcissist) - who is also about to be bumped out of her rented apartment, forcing her to go back home to her mother (Jill Clayburgh, doing a nicely daffy turn).

Bridesmaids_movie_photo-3Annie is asked to be maid of honour for best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph), whom she has known since they were young girls. When Annie meets the other bridesmaids - Lillian’s future sister-in-law Megan (Melissa McCarthy), a deluded, man-hungry nuclear engineer, dewy-eyed newlywed Becca (Ellie Kemper) and long-time married cousin Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey) - she forms an instant dislike to another, Helen (Rose Byrne, from Damages), Lillian's super-rich and ice-cool new friend she has met while working in another city. And then, when Helen attempts to take over as Lillian’s wedding planner, war breaks out.

But Bridesmaids is not a bitchfest - although there is some deliciously observed comedy of catty one-upwomanship as the super-efficient Helen trumps the disorganised Annie at every turn - but at heart is a breezily honest study of female friendship and one woman’s growing realisation that her life is going nowhere fast and that only she can turn things around. If that sounds a bit gloopy, don’t worry, as director Paul Feig (who directed some of the very dark television comedy Nurse Jackie) keeps the schmaltz count to zero. Even the romantic subplot, Annie’s stuttering relationship with nice-guy traffic cop Chris O’Dowd (of The IT Crowd and most recently The Crimson Petal and the White), is played mostly for laughs.

And at the film's heart is some wonderfully gross-out humour to give any dick-flick a run for its money (including those by co-producer Judd Apatow, who made The 40-Year-Old Virgin, incidentally), particularly the extended scene at a poncey French bridal shop which the women visit after a girly chow-down at a cheap and cheerful restaurant. But while you know that something bathroom-related is going to happen - Megan burps loudly and says, “I’m not even confident of which end that came out of” - Feig makes it hilarious but not predictable. And not for the first time watching Bridesmaids, I was crying with laughter.

bridesmaids-photo-kristen-wiig-rose-byrneHelen outdoes Annie (pictured left, Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne) every time - over the bridesmaids' dresses, at the bachelorette party and the hideously over-the-top bridal shower, held at her country mansion - and it's at the last that we see a painfully honest portrayal of friendship as Annie struggles to adjust to Lillian's changing circumstances. Feig skilfully melds a lot of conflicting emotions - envy, jealousy, "ownership" of friends - with some great physical comedy as Annie runs amok as she destroys Helen's party finery.

Wiig and co clearly had fun making Bridesmaids - the cast improvised a lot of dialogue - and because it’s so consistently funny one can forgive characters being introduced simply to deliver a good gag, for instance when Helen’s stepson watches the women playing tennis at her country club. “I’ve seen better tennis playing in a tampon commercial,” he says. At two hours, though, Bridesmaids is too long - the subplot with Annie's flatmate Matt Lucas and his sister in particular feels shoehorned in because it adds little to the comedy and doesn’t push the narrative along, and the wedding story itself takes a long time to get going.

That said, Bridesmaids never palls. For laughs per minute and a believable representation of how women interact, it's to be heartily recommended.

Watch the trailer for Bridesmaids

‘Because it’s so consistently funny one can forgive characters being introduced simply to deliver a good gag’

Share this article

Comments

"a believable representation of how women interact". Does this film REALLY show this? I don't think so. It's hyperactive, overhyped, crude, infantile - and I was continually sighing with exasperation all through it. Not on my list of films to see in 2011.

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters