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Review : Bridesmaids (2011)

"Save the date"

Released (UK) 24th June 2011, Rated 15. Runtime: 125 minutes (2 hours, 5 minutes).

Bridesmaids (2011) fanart

Official Synopsis: Picked as her best friend's maid of honor, lovelorn and broke Annie looks to bluff her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals with an oddball group of bridesmaids.

Director: Paul Feig, Produced By: Kristen Wiig, Judd Apatow, Written By: Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo

Primary Cast: Chris O'Dowd, Ellie Kemper, Jessica St. Clair, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey

The Blue Corner - Pete

Blue Corner Review, by Pete

Added July 18th, 2011

Having prepared for a fairly generic or formulaic comedy with lots of stereotyped characters, I was pleasantly surprised. The fact that it’s not a sequel or remake and doesn’t feature the usual headline actresses that are all too familiar in comedy territory certainly played a huge part in this.

BridesmaidsRather than focusing solely on the build up to a wedding, or a single aspect of it (the Hen Night would have been the most obvious given the success of The Hangover), the film’s reallyabout the lead character Annie (Kristen Wigg) and her life’s downward spiral as things go from bad to worse following her best friend announcing her engagement. Given that she starts the movie having been dumped by her partner, having seen her business go bust and being forced to live with a strange brother and sister whilst occasionally seeing her ‘fuck buddy’ (and hating herself for it afterwards), that’s quite impressive. Key to this tailspin and arguably self-destruction is Helen (Rose Byrne), playing the nemesis and seemingly polar opposite to Annie as they both fight for position as ‘best friend’ to the Bride to be.

BridesmaidsUnlike most female-centric comedies there’s no Kate Hudson character, or Kate Hudson for that matter – Kristen Wigg manages to be highly likably and her character, when required, suitably downtrodden. Outside of Paul and a few smaller roles I haven’t seen much of Wigg, although in the States it seems she’s well known thanks to SNL – something that sadly isn’t broadcast here in Scotland. Rose Bryne, despite being the female villain of the piece, also comes across well, as do each of the other Bridesmaids, although the two main characters patching things up towards the end felt a little contrived. If anything, I wish there had been more of the relationship between Annie & the Bride-to-be Lillian (Maya Rudolph) at the start as they seemed to share a genuine and entertaining bond on-screen.

What is quite sad is that people seem to be forced into squeezing the movie into either ‘Chick Flick… with balls’ or ‘Rom-Com… with balls’ categories, despite it being neither – it really does show how stuck people seem to become with comedies featuring a female lead. Having people rave about how it will save female comedy, rather than simply allowing it to stand on it’s own and letting it be judged as a comedy in general, really doesn’t help.

The film comes in at over two hours – whilst this main story flows quite well there are a few scenes that could have done with having been cropped, particularly those that felt more like improvised sketch show material than relevant script. Wiggs ‘going crazy’ during the Bridal Shower didn’t seem in keeping with her character – it should probably have been limited to pushing over a single item after her verbal tirade as she walked out. There’s nothing massively original about the movie but with the slew of bland crap that’s churned on such a regular basis it manages, like The Hangover when it was released, to feel like enough of a twist to feel quite fresh, for want of a better term. The sub-plot of the budding but initially awkward romance (a Judd Apatow special) between Annie & Nathan (Chris O’Dowd) works well, but having that element does drive the movie towards a relatively disappointing and bland finale where it’s paint-by-numbers time.

Overall, it done the job – it raised laughs and kept me entertained. I can only hope that it encourages a few more comedies to be produced featuring female leads without the usual baggage.

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