I went into Bridesmaids with high expectations— I had seen Facebook statuses and Tweets claiming it to be the best comedy of the year so far. Not only that, but it also had a cast including stars like Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Rose Byrne, while also allowing Ellie Kemper (my favorite on The Office), Melissa McCarthy and Wendy McLoven-Covey a chance to shine on the big screen.
For any other movie, high expectations yield low results. But Bridesmaids delivers big time.
Annie Walker (Wiig) is a woman whose life seems to be falling apart little by little. She’s in a physical relationship with a jerk (Jon Hamm), she lives with two weird roommates and is stuck in a dead end job, selling engagements rings to happy couples. Her only savior is best friend Lillian (Rudolph). But even that’s about to change when Lillian announces her engagement and asks Annie to be her maid of honor. Annie agrees but finds herself in competition with Lillian’s other best friend, the impossibly perfect Helen (Byrne), who seems to know exactly what she’s doing as a bridesmaid, unlike the hapless Annie. The two women, along with the other bridesmaids, the innocent Becca (Kemper), the frustrated mother Rita (McLoven-Covey) and the groom’s boisterous sister Megan (McCarthy), try to give Lillian the best wedding ever but disasters come up at every turn.
Written by Wiig herself along with Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids is the kind of comedy that finds humor in some very sad situations. Annie herself is a tragic figure, who seems to lose more and more control over her life. In this way, however, she is such a relatable character unlike other comedy heroines who always reach their career goals and find love and are supermodel-pretty.
To me the biggest victory of Bridesmaids is that it avoids many of the old Hollywood clichés of womanhood and spoofs them with hilarious results. The confrontations scenes between Annie and Helen (like the speech-off at the engagement party) or between Annie and Lillian (the bridal shower) are funny instead of catty. Or when Annie has to flirt her way out of a ticket, instead of sexually objectifying herself, she does something endearingly and charmingly silly. This is why Bridesmaids is being heralded as a feminist Hollywood achievement—it gives many women the opportunity to be comic protagonists without resorting to tired conventions and clichés.
Wiig delivers the performance that will make her a movie star instead of just an SNL star. Not only is she as funny as she ever was, but her dramatic scenes are top-notch as well. Rudolph, Byrne and McCarthy also give tremendous performances. Kemper and McLoven-Covey are great in their small parts.
For the men, you have Chris O’Dowd as Officer Nathan Rhodes, Annie’s cop love interest. He is very charming and funny and I hope he gets more roles. Hamm is terrific, playing a handsome tool.
Paul Feig, who is best known for his work on Arrested Development and The Office, directed the movie. Choosing his as the director was a genius move because he has experience in telling sad stories in very humorous ways.
This movie has been compared to The Hangover but that is really a false comparison. Personally, I think this movie is funnier than The Hangover. It tells a better story and has more interesting characters. Plus Annie and her crew never actually make it to Las Vegas.