Girl’s Club

Bridesmaids’ barfing beauties

Bridesmaids is the anti-chick-flick. There are no hopeless romantics here; no star-crossed lovers or coincidental interventions from Cupid. It's a picture about love, friendship and change, but without any of the frothy cuteness or frilly emotional waste. There is, however, plenty of tennis court violence, mile-high pill-popping and girl-on-girl vomiting. And, believe it or not, it finds time amid all that to turn an eye towards the real complexity of human relationships. To put it simply, Bridesmaids is not only smarter than anything the boys have done in the last few years, it is also more lewd, more gross and more flat-out hilarious. Annie (Kristen Wiig) used to run a little bakery in Milwaukee with her boyfriend. Now she drives a busted-up Toyota, drolly works a counter at a jewelry store and routinely gets used by a meathead named Ted (Jon Hamm). Add her two strange English roommates (Rebel Wilson and Matt Lucas) to that list, and it's clear she's in a sort of tailspin. Thankfully, she can vent about all this to Lillian (Maya Rudolph), her best friend since childhood. But when Lillian announces her engagement to Dougie (Tim Heidecker — that's right, the guy from “Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”), things get much more desperate. Not only does her cherished friendship appear to be slipping away, her duties as maid of honor are seriously threatened by the bride's new, sophisticated bestie Helen (Rose Byrne). Bridesmaids was directed by Peter Feig, a veteran TV director for shows like “The Office” and “Arrested Development,” and one of the men behind “Freaks and Geeks.” And the movie is aptly directed, considering that the narrative flows nicely in the exact direction we expect. But as with nearly all mainstream comedies, its greatness lies not in its story or direction but its cast, which is led brilliantly here by Wiig, who also co-wrote the film with Annie Mumolo (who appears as an anxious flyer). Like several of her “Saturday Night Live” predecessors, including Gilda Radner and Molly Shannon, Wiig is the pretty girl who gladly throws out all egoistic concerns in the service of the character and, ultimately, the laugh. She definitely continues bravely along that path here, but it's refreshing to see her also as a sort of leading lady and object of desire. Melissa McCarthy comes close to outshining Wiig as Dougie's sister Megan, a barreling train of a woman with a stunning amount of self-assurance. And though she gets much less comedic slack as a foil to Wiig's fall girl, Rudolph is remarkably good playing a character who is miles away from her frequently surreal work on “SNL.” Bridesmaids is the same kind of raunchy, anarchic comedy that's become so popular in recent years, only better, and without any of the veiled sexist and racist elements that many of those pictures flirt with. And, at the risk of sounding too serious, Annie's futile fight against change, and Wiig's portrayal of it, is remarkably honest, visceral stuff. This is simply unmissable multiplex viewing. Grade = A

posted at 09:57 pm
on Monday, May 16th, 2011

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