Happy Funtime Movie Blog

Watching movies is our business, and business is good

Film Review: Bridesmaids

on May 17, 2011


I found myself wanting to watch a movie this past weekend.  And not just watch one like I normally do, on my couch at home.  I actually wanted to do the very thing that I loved so much as a kid / teenager, which I have now grown to loathe in my later years; “go to” the movies.

I had an itch man.  Now, most people would suggest medication, or even some kind of ointment to cure this itch, but I wanted it man.  I wanted the whole thing.  The rude $5.75/hour makin’ teenager at the ticket booth; the disinterested attendant at the snack food counter, and the sticky floor, disgusting-ass theater.  All the things I used to love as a kid.  Like I said, I was just in a movie watching mood, and I wanted to see something that I would enjoy, and even relate to. I wanted to see a flick that would speak to me, and for me.  So the choice was a no-brainer…….Bridesmaids.

Storyline:

Bridesmaids is a film about two lifelong friends, Annie (Kristen Wiig, Current SNL cast member and Whip It) and Lillian (Maya Rudolph, Former SNL cast member and Away We Go) who have spent their entire lives around each other in Milwaukee.  Annie and Lillian could not be on more opposite sides of the life-spectrum.  Lillian is recently engaged and seems to be living a pretty good life, whereas Annie’s life is in a complete downward spiral, with examples like a failed bakery business (which is referenced way too many times in the film), her boyfriend leaving her after the bakery failed, her current male friend, played by John Hamm (Mad Men), being a total douche and treating her horribly, and two really weird roommates, an over-the-top British brother and sister combo (Matt Lucas and Rebel Wilson), that go through her things when she’s not around.  Annie’s life seems like it cannot get any worse.  Then her best friend gets engaged.  Annie is asked to be the maid of honor, which she accepts, but you know she doesn’t want to.

At an over-the-top engagement party thrown by fellow bridesmaid Helen (Rose Byrne, Troy and Get Him to The Greek), who is the wealthy wife of Lillan’s fiancé’s boss, and eventual rival to Annie for “best friend status,” we are introduced to the rest of the cast of Bridesmaids.  With Annie and Helen we meet Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey, Deputy Clementine Johnson / Reno 911) who is Lillian’s married cousin, Becca (Ellie Kemper, Erin/The Office and Get Him to The Greek) a co-worker of Lillian’s, and in my opinion, the best character in the film, Meghan (Melissa McCarthy, Molly / Mike and Molly) who is Lillian’s over-sexed, and lacking a filter, future sister-in-law.

Driving home from the engagement party Annie is pulled over for swerving while complaining to herself about the seemingly perfect Helen.  This is where we meet Annie’s eventual love interest in Officer Rhodes (Christopher O’Dowd, Pirate Radio).  Officer Rhodes lets Annie off with a warning (because he recognizes her from her old bakery, reference #3 by this point in the film, and loved her cakes), and a request that she gets her tail lights fixed.  “Getting her tail lights fixed” becomes a really dumb metaphor later in the film that I will not even bother getting into.

The remainder of the film is mostly about Annie failing, horribly, as a maid of honor.  To be fair, she really does give it her best shot (for the most part), but with her being her own worst enemy, and not to mention the evil Helen (who is perfect, remember) working against her, there is nowhere to go but down.  This film is filled with some pretty funny scenes.  It’s just unfortunate that we saw probably 60% them on the commercials, which is better than average, but still disappointing to a movie nerd like myself.

My Take:

When I saw the commercial for Bridesmaids, I’m not going to lie to you; the first thing I thought was “The Hangover” with chicks.  And after seeing the film, I believe that’s exactly what the studio wanted everyone to believe it was based on the marketing campaign they ran.  But honestly, it was way more than that.   But based on that very marketing campaign I can’t help but feel somewhat disappointed in what I saw.

At times Bridesmaids seemed to be more of a improv free-for-all rather than a narrative piece (which isn’t always bad, there were some really funny pieces, much like in Anchor Man).  But Bridesmaids wasn’t your run of the mill slapstick comedy.  The writers Kristen Wigg and Annie Mumolo (also in the film as a nervous lady on the plane) were genuinely trying to convey an earnest take on friendship and modern marriage that at times gets lost because of the hijinks and craziness in the film.

I feel like this film was constantly trying to get somewhere, but never quite “got there.”  With all the zany hijinks and silliness that go on throughout this film, I feel there was some very real missed opportunities for character development in this film.  This brings me back to the marketing campaign done by the studio.  Because the studio went to such great lengths to make Bridesmaids look like The Hangover, it’s reasonable to see how someone would be expecting the same simple A-Z storyline with the silliness sprinkled in that made The Hangover so popular.  But Bridesmaids is a story about weddings, and the complete absurdity surrounding them.  It’s also more about “being a bridesmaid,” whereas The Hangover was just about a zany adventure that used a bachelor party as a starting point.

I wonder if pressure to be something they weren’t got to the film.  At the end of the day, this film is “really” only about 4 characters, but feelings that it would develop into an ensemble movie are supported by 2 very long scenes within the film (the dress fitting scene and the airplane scene).  Annie, Lillian, Officer Rhodes, and much later in the movie Meghan have some really compelling dialogue between them that make the small jokey stuff earlier almost feel like it diluted the potential for something really good.

Like I mentioned earlier, the overall feeling of this film is it was one big improv-fest.  I guess that is going to happen when the majority of the cast, as well as the two writers, are all current members, or former members of the famed improv troupe The Groundlings.  It always felt like most scenes went on too long, and were always one joke away from jumping the shark; which some even jumped.

Overall I liked the movie, but it’s not really that hard to please me with this kind of comedy.  I was especially fond of the character Meghan.  While the commercials show her as the Zach Galifianakis of this film (crazy and inappropriate), she turns out to be a strong character, which at times holds the entire film together.  I recommend seeing this film in theaters if you can catch a matinée, or wait for DVD.  There are some real definite laugh-out-loud moments that are worth the price of admission, but not full price. My only complaint is that the film is way too long.  At a running time of 2 hours and 5 minutes, it’s about 30 minutes too long

3.5 out of 5 Happy’s

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