When I walked into the cinema for the screening of Bridesmaids and saw the auditorium chock full of women, my heart sank a little. I have never really been one for chick flicks, least of all chick flicks that take as their subject marriage and all the ritual female bonding and hysteria that goes with it, but within minutes Bridesmaids had won me over. The script, written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo is cracking, and there are too many laugh-out-loud moments to count. The strength of the film lies in its characters and their relationships, which are given space to develop and become suitably complicated. There are some great performances, particularly from Wiig, who plays the lead character, Annie. Annie has not only just broken up with her long-term boyfriend, but her business has also gone bust, then she is asked to be maid of honour at her best friend Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding but the job is made more difficult by Lillian’s new friend, the wealthy and effortlessly glamorous Helen (Rose Byrne) who tries to take over the reins.
The film revolves around the conflict and competition which develops between Annie and Helen and how it threatens to derail not only the imminent wedding but also Annie and Lillian’s friendship. And friendship is precisely what this film is about – there are men in this particular chick flick, but refreshingly they play supporting or comedy roles, indeed there is a nice performance from Chris O’Dowd of IT Crowd fame as Annie’s would-be love interest. Although there is no doubting that this is firmly Wiig’s film, there is some great ensemble acting on display, (Melissa McCarthy as Megan is great) and the funniest moments are when the women are all on-screen together – one of the funniest moments is at an exquisitely ill-fated dress fitting, where an injudicious restaurant choice comes back to haunt the women. It is cringe-inducing but very very funny.
There are only two issues I had with the film: the first is Matt Lucas, it is not clear what he is doing in this film, it seems the producers were determined to shoehorn him into some sort of comic supporting role but his turn with Rebel Wilson (doing a woefully awful English accent) as Annie’s flatmates is just a bit embarrassing really. The second is that Annie’s character becomes almost unlikeable towards the middle of the film when she becomes a slightly too self-absorbed and her life becomes even more of a car wreck and she is seriously in danger of hurting those closest to her through her selfishness. However, ultimately Wiig manages to keep us rooting for Annie throughout.
The film is produced by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Superbad The 40-Year-Old Virgin) purveyor of the blokiest of films and indeed the film has been described as the female version of The Hangover. Yet this description does the film a disservice as the characters and relationship dynamics at work here are much more defined and detailed, even though the situations can be equally grotesque. Critics of the film have cited the vomit and sex jokes as overly vulgar, but sex and vomiting can both be hilarious not to mention an integral part of the human condition, so why should men be the only ones allowed to laugh? I left the cinema with a smile on my face and if Bridesmaids is an example of the chick flick of the future, then I’m a convert.
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