Bridesmaids (2011)

Directed by Paul Feig
Written by Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo

Last year “The Hangover” won over audiences with its outrageous premise and unique flavor of comedy. Now with “The Hangover Part II” set to release in just a few weeks time, co-writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo deliver their own unique, all-female, wedding comedy in the form of “Bridesmaids”. And with Judd Apatow (“Knocked Up”, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”) as producer and Paul Feig (“The Office”, “Freaks and Geeks”) as director, it becomes a success in both humor and its heartfelt message, which Apatow is so adept at infusing into his funniest films.

Wiig plays Annie, a woman who has just lost all of her money in her very own bakery venture, but at least she still has her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph). That is until Lillian gets engaged and Annie, who is the maid of honor, meets the rest of the bridal party. Lillian’s new, rich and beautiful friend Helen (Rose Byrne) threatens Annie’s friendship with Lillian. Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Melissa McCarthy round out the bridal party which goes through various hilarious trials and tribulations on Annie’s way to try to compete with Helen, the consummate “one-upper”.

“Bridesmaids” is a successful film because it is able to infuse great comedy with a very real and dramatic situation. And it succeeds in doing this because of the talents of Kristen Wiig, who is very funny and also very capable in the intricate dramatics which the script, also co-written by her, demand. What makes Wiig such a great comedic actress is her seemingly naturally awkward delivery. She is able to use subtle pauses along with her great sense of humor to yield a character we love and are able to sympathize with.

However, Maya Rudolph seems underused here. Rose Byrne plays the villain quite well, mixing equal parts evil and intrigue. Chris O’Dowd, who adds the charming cop with an accent, Rhodes, and the love interest of Annie, adds a lot to the film. While Rhodes is never really developed much as a character, his charm and concern for Annie is really endearing and serves as a great device to show the helplessness of her character.

The film is full of interesting characters, starting with Wiig’s Annie and trickling down all the way to the bit players; for instance, Annie’s British roommates, who seem to be comedic relief in an already hilarious movie. The film has its fair share of vulgar, shock comedy, but director Paul Feig knows just how far to go and when to reel it in. However, he does allow scenes to run on and on, almost beating a dead horse, but, defying logic, that seems to work as well. The engagement party and the scene when Annie is trying to get Rhodes’ attention when he is ignoring her both come to mind.

The struggle between the broke Annie and the rich Helen is really what makes this film tick. It sets up the struggle between the two, and their fight for Lillian, who is stuck in the middle. In addition to creating a great premise for a comedy film to unfold, it affords itself very well to the dramatic edge which comments on how people change and how money can drive a wedge into a friendship that seemed destined to last forever.

Jon Hamm.

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