May 14, 2012

Rabid Rewind: Bridesmaids

starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, and Melissa McCarthy
directed by Paul Feig
screenplay by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
Universal Pictures (2011)

I've done my turn as the best man in a wedding, but the most stressful thing I had to do was make a speech at the reception--tanked it, by the way. At least I wasn't responsible for giving anyone food poisoning so bad they sh*t themselves in the middle of a busy street. Yeah, that happens in this movie.

Kristen Wiig finally got her turn in the starring role of a comedy, and unsurprisingly does a fantastic job. The gal might be my favorite SNL star since Phil Hartman, so seeing her make good on the big screen is an added treat. Throw in the comedic talents of Maya Rudolph as her best friend turned bride-to-be, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey (oved her in Reno 911), and Ellie Kemper, and the movie was bound to be great.

Annie (Wiig) is getting her ass kicked by life, with a failed business, creepy roommates, and an A-grade douchebag for what she only wishes was her boyfriend. Her one saving grace is having a great best friend, Lillian (Rudolph), but when Lillian gets engaged that puts one more little wrench in Annie's life. But she is genuinely happy for Lillian and wants to do her best to make the bridal shower and all the rest a great success. The trouble is Lillian's other good friend (Rose Byrne) is wealthy and charming and out to steal the show.

Kristen Wiig is utterly likable, with her mix of sexy and nerdy, and is juxtaposed with Rose Byrne as the rich snob. And while the witty dialogue and intermittent moments of tenderness and sincerity, the pleasure of this movie comes from the over-the-top comedy from the motley crew of bridesmaids. Melissa McCarthy may have channeled John Belushi or Chris Farley, because if this was a cast of guys, that's who I'd have pegged for her role. Ellie Kemper was a bit of a scene-stealer too, as the Disney-obsessed and sexually repressed coworker. Between scenes involving rapid and violent food poisoning, inebriated escapades on an airplane, and flagrant attempts to provoke a traffic cop, the movie was loaded with laugh-out-loud moments.

I gotta admit that I probably wouldn't have been as charmed by the movie if it was a cast of men instead of women. An all-female cast in a comedy shouldn't be a novelty. And a lady-led comedy that's actually funny instead of a lazy written piece of tripe--Sex and the City, I'm looking in your direction--shouldn't be a rarity. Not that the bro-centric comedies fare any better. Bridesmaids is hilarious, plain and simple, and I really wish there were more comedies as good as this one.

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