Monday, June 6, 2011

Movie with Abe: Bridesmaids

Directed by Paul Feig
Released May 13, 2011

Expectations can play a big part in the enjoyment of a movie. Those going into this late spring comedy anticipating laughs as plentiful as can be found in “The Hangover” with an appropriate relatability for those of the female gender may be disappointed. Those looking for little more than a fun, fully entertaining comedy should find themselves entirely engaged and actually laughing more than they might have thought. It may be hardly revolutionary, but “Bridesmaids” is, quite honestly, a blast, thanks to a strong handling of familiar plotlines and a terrific cast.

Advertisements for the film made it seem like an ensemble movie, and that it is, but the prominence of Kristen Wiig as Annie isn’t accurately conveyed. Wiig has mainly played supporting, scene-stealing roles in films and on “Saturday Night Live,” usually recognizable by her standard weird facial expressions. Yet here she’s playing someone completely different, still prone to sarcastic rolls of the eyes and outburst, but a believable human being and a decent romantic comedy hero. While Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is the one getting married, this is really Annie’s story. Fortunately, her story contains plenty of colorful characters.

The best surprise in “Bridesmaids” comes in the form of Rose Byrne, who hasn’t been doing all that much on “Damages” over its first few seasons. Here, she’s completely in her element as the vain, friend-stealing Helen, perfectly establishing a detestable diva and effortlessly effecting a rivalry with Annie. Neither Wendi McLendon-Covey nor Ellie Kemper has all that much to do, but they make the most of their brief appearances. Melissa McCarthy has a far more central role, most comparable to that of Zach Galifianakis in “The Hangover,” positioning her as the film’s driving comic force. While the ladies are great, it’s worth praising the supporting men as well. Chris O’Dowd is a pleasure as a cop quickly won over by Annie’s distinctive charms, while Jon Hamm oozes chauvinism and despicable behavior brilliantly as one of her more impolite suitors.

What really works about “Bridesmaids” is that its script and its cast know not to take things too far. While the film does contain predictable drunken scenes and ill-to-the-stomach scenes, they’re passed over and never referred back to once they’re done, so that the film can move past them and get back to real life. That said, Wiig in particular is committed to giving her scenes her all and milking jokes as long as they’re still fresh, as she does aboard an airplane and while trying to win back a spurned companion. The film isn’t daring or original, but that’s not what it’s supposed to be. There are several laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of other chucklers to be found throughout the film’s two hour and five minute runtime, and it’s a fun ride all the way through.


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