Bridesmaids – ★★★★½
125 minutes | America | Language: English | Rating: R
Weddings and cinema are a match made in heaven. Whether it’s in drama – imagine the Godfather saga without its most famous scene – or in comedy – take your pick from Four Weddings and a Funeral, Father of the Bride or Wedding Crashers – no event can really anchor a film like the life-changing process people go through when getting hitched.
But it’s not often that the happy couple is left to one side to let another interested party shine. In Bridesmaids, writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo (both of whom cut their teeth in the LA-based Groundlings improv company), director Paul Feig and comedy-producer-supremo Judd Apatow realise how much more fun can be had by focusing on the supporting players (did someone say The Hangover?). They take this rational to a whole new level by leaving our groom, Dougie, without a single line of dialogue. Just the occasional toothy grin.
Instead, as the title, poster and marketing will have told you, this one is all about the girls. Indeed Dougie’s fiance, Lillian, played by former Saturday Night Live star Maya Rudolph, is just a supporting player to her outlandish bridal party.
Bridesmaids is really all about Kristen Wiig‘s Annie, who, as maid of honour is entrusted to organise the bridal shower and pre-wedding trip (a wild hen night in Coppers just wouldn’t do). Annie’s not alone though, with Helen, played by Rose Byrne, doing her best to over-shadow her efforts and crown herself as Lillian’s true “bff”.
Annie and Helen are flanked by a delightful range of talent. First up you have Megan, Lillian’s future sister-in-law who likes fight clubs and puppies and doesn’t care what you think of her, played by Mike and Molly’s Melissa McCarthy (so many m’s). Alongside Wiig, she could end up being the break-out star here as she does her damnedest to steal every scene she’s in. The last two ladies, Wendi McLendon-Covey’s Rita and Ellie Kemper‘s Becca are a little less developed, and you wonder whether things were getting a little bloated in the cutting room and they had to cut out some of their scenes to try and keep the film near the 2 hour mark.
A mention must also go to the two men cast in supporting roles, Jon Hamm in an uncredited but everyoneknowshesinthefilm role, and Chris O’Dowd as an Irish-American police officer. They’re polar opposites on the gentlemen scale and both play their parts brilliantly. With everyone thinking the I.T. Crowd’s Richard Ayoade (Moss) would be the real break-out star of the Channel 4 sitcom, Chris O’Dowd, who plays Roy, may be about to prove them wrong. He’s absolutely charming here, and having been one of the only redeeming features in turkeys like Dinner for Schmucks and Gulliver’s Travels, he’s surely set for big things.
[Random idea: Ayoade needs to cast O’Dowd in a feature with a script from I.T. Crowd/Father Ted writer, Graham Linehan? Instant success.]
As with most comedies, to go into much more detail about the set-pieces or plot may ruin things. The very best laughs come from those that you don’t see coming, and believe me there are some that really do come from nowhere – *cough* *spoiler* food-poisoning.
Wiig and Mumolo’s script is by no means perfect as things slow down and get a little mixed up midway through. However, because the characters are such a pleasure to spend time with, it never drags and you barely notice how little the plot has actually advanced in the last fifteen minutes. But it’s a minor blemish on an otherwise hard to fault laughathon.
So even though the poster says “CHICK FLICKS DON’T HAVE TO SUCK“, this really, really, really, really, REALLY isn’t just for girls.