Bridesmaids (starring Kristen Wiig)
Good comedy is hard to find. Good comedy from a female comedian in a movie directed towards females is almost impossible to find. It’s not that women aren’t funny, it’s that it’s rare for a female comedian to get a chance to carry her own film and when it does happen, it’s almost always in the form of a romantic comedy. So while films like SUPERBAD and THE HANGOVER are looked at as being original, ground-breaking comedies, I’ll go out on a limb and say that BRIDESMAIDS is one of the most original comedies to hit theaters in the last decade. All the talk will be centered on the fact that it stars an unproven Kristen Wiig, was written by Wiig, features an almost entire female cast and is largely targeting a female audience, but let’s ignore all of that for a second and I’ll point out that this film succeeds in the most important aspect a comedy can; it’s hilarious.
Like every good comedy, the premise is simple; Wiig stars as Annie, a woman going through a life-crisis of sorts with her business having gone under, she’s in a bad relationship, she has obnoxious roommates and her lifelong best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), is getting married. Despite her life-crisis, she accepts the offer to become Lillian’s maid of honor. But the gig is much harder than she anticipated when she runs into Helen, the wife of Lillian’s husband’s boss. Rich, beautiful and needy, Helen doesn’t like that Lillian chose Annie to be her maid of honor and goes to great lengths to show Lillian she made the wrong choice. As Helen keeps pushing, Annie keeps snapping, leading to one hilarious situation after another.
This is a bit of a dangerous premise as it has several pitfalls the film thankfully avoids. Rose Byrne played Helen wonderfully, efficiently balancing the line between shrew and innocent friend. Melissa McCarthy (Megan) was great as the obligatory over-the-top supporting character, but she was essential to some of the funnier scenes. However, the gem of the movie was the breakout performance of Kristen Wiig. I loved her in small doses in MACGRUBER and PAUL, but she carried her own film with ease. She made funny scenes even better by throwing in her trademark under-her-breath remarks and pulled off sick, nervous, drunk, happy and sad like a veteran actress. This film would have been funny without her, but with her it was flat out hilarious.
As clever as the script was, the most impressive aspect of BRIDESMAIDS is that it never held back. It constantly pushed the envelope, yet managed to do it in a way that was in control. The best example of this is the soon-to-be famous scene in the bridal shop. I kept expecting them to cut away or to hold back, but they never did. And just when I thought they had gone too far, they proved they hadn’t gone far enough. The result was a laugh out loud funny scene that had me, and the rest of the audience, in tears.
Everybody has different guidelines for what makes a good comedy. For me, the humor has to be original and the movie has to be consistently funny with at least a few laugh out loud moments. BRIDESMAIDS hits on all of those and does even better by giving us characters we care about. Annie, Lillian, Helen, Megan and everyone else were great characters that had interesting storylines. BRIDESMAIDS may be geared towards women, but it’s raunchy and funny enough for everyone.