Monday, May 30, 2011

The Bridesmaids Review

     I'm not one of those guys that refuses to see a film with a female-driven story with actresses talking about their menstrual cycles and relationship problems. I refuse to see films with female-driven stories with those issues that suck, which--unfortunately for many women and their poor men who get dragged to these piles of feces--is the majority of movies about weddings and finding your one true love. Thankfully, I could tell that Bridesmaids was one of the good ones, one of the ones that was made for the viewer's benefit and not the economic bottom line. Starring and partly written by SNL's Kristen Wiig (who is starting to turn heads in films such as Paul and MacGruber), Bridesmaids is a great success for a few reasons: the film shows the true comedy, emotions and insecurities that all women feel when their friends are getting hitched, it does an amazing job of dealing with the entire eclectic mix of women that get introduced (and keeping them distinctly original and separate in character), and Wiig's performance, which is both emotional and physical, is one of the most honest I've seen in a comedy.  Above all, Bridesmaids solidified my thinking in that most weddings (and more specifically wedding planning)--no matter the who/what/where--bring out the worst in people.
     Wiig portrays a girl named Annie, whose cake shop has gone under since the beginning of the economic recession. She's been best friends with Lillian for years and years, and they get together often to drink wine, read Us magazine and talk about how weird penises are, especially when a man rests them on their face while sleeping. Annie's also involved in a one-sided relationship with Jon Hamm, who beautifully plays a rich, douchey, even more sex-obsessed version of Don Draper. She's down on her luck, stuck in a limbo of emotionless sex and a dead-end job at a jewelry store (the setting for some great scenes due to her brash honesty about relationships and friendship to love-drunk customers). What could be Annie's rock bottom? That is a question that constantly gets raised and then one-upped throughout the film, starting with her best friend Lillian's engagement.
     You see, Lillian has been best friends with Annie forever, but ever since meeting her soon-to-be-husband, Lillian has also becomes friends with Helen (her husband's employer's wife), a rich bitch that is clearly trying to drive a wedge in between Annie and Lillian's long-term friendship. Helen, portrayed in an extremely cunty (but effective) way by Rose Byrne, needs everything to be perfect. She is also in the wedding party (Annie is the maid of honor), but she is one of those people that loves planning every little detail of any major event. As Helen consistently tries to steal Annie's ideas about the engagement party, bachelorette party, and the wedding itself, drunken jealousy, dirty looks, insecurities and anger reach a boiling point of hilarious hijinks.
     Back to Wiig: the movie is great because of her. Yes, there are many highlights from the other members of the bridal party, but they are usually a little more obvious and over-the-top than Wiig's honest and insecure performance of a woman who feels left behind in a world of successful careers and loving relationships. The key is that both men and women can relate to her plight. Every human experiences some form of jealousy and self-consciousness during major events (like a wedding), and sometimes we just want it to be over and done with. And although, as the film reaches a higher and higher minute in runtime, the movie does subscribe to some of the same old tired tropes that many women- or wedding-centric films rely on (specifically Wiig slowly realizing she wants a sweet and generous man instead of just a misogynistic fuck-buddy), Bridesmaids puts smiles on faces and warmth into even the most skeptical of hearts.     (A-)

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