DVD Review: ‘Bridesmaids’

Anyone with common sense knows that women can be funny. If you try to point to recent movies, however, there is a distinct shortage of evidence to support the statement. The Judd Apatow-produced ‘Bridesmaids’ just might turn the tide.

After her cake business fails, Annie (Kristen Wiig) sinks into a rut. She has no money, no love life and her dream has been dashed. Then, her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announces that she is getting married and she wants Annie as her maid of honor. The fellow bridesmaids are: the groom’s sister Megan (Melissa McCarthy), Lilian’s friend Becca (Ellie Kemper), her cousin Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and the wife of the groom-to-be’s boss, Helen (Rose Byrne. Together, they want to plan the perfect wedding for the happy couple.

Annie doesn’t seem to be up to the task. Everything she does goes wrong and the financial restraints she faces are proving to be difficult for her to overcome. Helen, on the other hand, has monetary resources and far-reaching connections. She might be better suited to be in charge of things.

The only bright spot for Annie is Officer Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd) who pulls her over for having broken taillights. They begin to flirt after he finds out that she was the owner of Cake Baby, which he was a frequent customer.

Will the wedding go on as planned? Can Annie and Helen be able to look past their rivalry for the sake of their friend? Is anything going to come of Annie and Officer Rhodes’ mutual attraction?

The female perspective is often overlooked in raunchy, R-Rated comedies. Sure, there are plenty of fluffy romantic flicks out there that fancy themselves to be funny, but few are. Most of them are formulaic variations of each other. There is a romantic subplot here, of course, but the story is more interested in exploring a power struggle over a friendship. Most importantly, it’s funny and isn’t afraid to get a little raunchy. Don’t be afraid of Brazilian steakhouses after seeing this, there are surely many good ones out there.

Apatow’s fingerprints are all over this thing. His comedies have usually been very character-driven though this seems to be a bit more situational and linear than some of his other projects. This is probably due to the script which was co-written by Wiig. The characters’ bond is the glue that holds this together. Apparently when some female friends get together, they carry on with banter similar to that of their male counterparts. Who knew?

Too bad there are a few details that are glossed over and opportunities left unexplored. Not having a bachelorette party is a consequence of some characters’ actions and is justified, but some debauchery could have happened there. Then again, the movie does run over two hours. That would have made it even longer. It seems, by the end, that there is a big rush to wrap things up. It doesn’t come together in quite the glorious way you might be hoping for though there is a cameo that is hinted at throughout.

While Annie, Lillian, and Helen are the principal players, the Rita and Becca characters are really relegated far into the background. They only have one meaningful exchange and it’s with each other. Melissa McCarthy really gets to run wild as the obvious comic relief or ‘wild card’ character of the bunch. Think of her sort of like Zach Galfianakis in ‘The Hangover‘ or Rob Corddry in ‘Hot Tub Time Machine.’ Most of what she says or does is meant to be funny because it contrasts so sharply with her peers. Despite her obvious function, she usually gets the job done.

Wiig has been a supporting player in many movies over the last few years. This just might be the one to make her a viable leading lady. Leaving Saturday Night Live will free her up to do just this, but it will leave a huge gap in the show’s cast.

Special features include: commentary, a gag reel, line-o-rama, deleted, extended and alternate scenes, and a fake commercial for the jewelry store that Annie works at.

‘Bridesmaids’ was a huge success on a number of levels. It was Apatow’s biggest financial boon which means it exposed a huge, new audience to his work. The best part of all is that instead of being a movie that people have to watch in order to appease their significant other, it has a wide enough appeal to make both sides happy.

If you want to see some talented comediennes really cut loose, this is a good bet. Besides, it’s one of the more consistently funny mainstream films of the year.

Rated R/Unrated         125 minutes/131 minutes        2011

This post was written by:

J.J. Ellis – When J.J. Ellis isn’t writing as the Allentown DVD Examiner, his Decent Exposure Radio can be heard on the air every Friday night from 10:30 to midnight (EST) on WXLV 90.3 FM or wxlvradio.com!

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