Author: O'Hara, Helen
Date published: December 1, 2011
It's The Hangovaries!
THE LATEST IN A LONG STRING OF FEMALE-LED "surprise" hits that shouldn't have surprised anyone, Bridesmaids has a good claim to be the strongest comedy of the year. Character-led, intelligently written and perfectly cast, it's a film that has the potential to change Hollywood, by finally convincing men that films starring women can be not only watchable but freakin' hilarious. Written by and starring Kristen WHg, it's the story of Annie, failed businesswoman and dumpee who's less happy than she should be when her best friend, Lilian (Maya Rudolph), gets engaged. Annie, depressed and hard-up, tries gamely to go along with the wedding preparations, but is intimidated by Lilians rich, perfect and beautiful new friend, Helen (Rose Byrne), and soon overwhelmed by the financial and emotional demands of her maid of honour role. The combination of competition with Helen, poverty, an unravelling ove-life and an eclectic collection of fellow bridesmaids soon makes this a sort of Wedding Oo The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown.
The film's at its most effective when it focuses on Wiig and her quietly desperate attempts to get her stalled life moving again: wrangling weirdo flatmates, suggesting affordable hen party plans and beginning a tentative romance with Chris O'Dowd's traffic cop while still not quite over Jon Harom's odious "fuck-buddy", Ted (incidentally. Hamm must be hugely secure to send up his own sex symbol image this thoroughly). Lengthy swathes of the film elicit not just giggles but laughs of recognition and empathy, something that's been almost totally absent from the exaggerated and artificial rom-com sphere for far too long.
It's disappointing, then, that a couple of scenes go over the top, notably a scatological explosion in a bridal shop that feels - and indeed was - shoehorned in by producer Judd Apatow to draw fans of broad comedy. Perhaps, in that sense, it worked in persuading the naysayers - i . e. men - to give àie film a chance in the first place. But hopefully, when the next Bridesmaids (whatever that may be) comes along, they can leave out such gimmicks and keep the focus firmly on the characters, where the real comedy lies.
EXTRAS The group commentary is chaotic but entertaining, director Paul Feig valiantly trying to keep the cast in check. The gag reel and line-o-rama are as improv-heavy as you'd expect, andai funny, and there's a great set of deleted and extended scenes, additional video jokes and general hilarity. You can also listen to Holifcön in full, handy for group singalongs. It's hard to think what else they missed.
**** EXTRAS ****