For a movie that was heavily advertised as the female Hangover, I feel like that advertising campaign is actually a slap in the face a movie that had much more to offer than the Hangover. The Hangover was a straight up comedy. Never once did I experience any sort of emotion during their romp through Vegas, though. I mean, I did laugh a lot, but it was merely an endless array of well done slapstick and clever storytelling. Bridemaids, on the other hand, actually had characters with depth and interest, while still keeping the laughs coming.
But I do see why Bridesmaids got the gross-out, R-rated advertising campaign. How else are you going to get guys into a movie about six women planning a wedding? Frankly, all I needed to hear was R-rated and Judd Apatow producing, and couple that with a 90% Rotten Tomatoes score, and I don’t see how a fan of modern comedies wouldn’t be at least a little excited for this film. Regardless of the gender of the majority of the cast.
At the center of it all is a career highlight performance for Kristen Wiig. She started off as the brilliant new cast member of SNL, then quickly went to one of the more annoying cast members of SNL, and now she seems posed to be a promising film actress. I know she’s had plenty of small roles in films already, but after her performance as Annie in Bridesmaids, I’m hoping she just leaves SNL altogether and works on more projects like this one (which she co-wrote as well). I don’t think I’ve seen such a well rounded character in an R-rated comedy in a long time.
The rest of the cast was pretty decent as well. Mya Rudolph was a fine complement to Wiig as the bride-to-be. John Hamm was funny as a sleaze ball. But there were also unnecessary characters. This movie kind of got billed as an ensemble comedy with six women, all different from each other, yadda yadda yadda. Two characters, the mother who’d been married for 15 years and the newlywed young girl, could have been completely written out of the movie, and it would have saved about 6 minutes of screen time. That’s about how long they are in the movie. It appears as if they were added because the writers had a few funny jokes about contrasting an old marriage with a new one, but they just seemed wedged in there. Their entire roles could have made a deleted scenes reel and it wouldn’t have effected the overall movie that much. Also the Megan character (the heavyset gal), was surprisingly NOT worthless. By the end of the film, she actually adds depth to the film, and contributes to more than just fart jokes as the trailer indicates (but yeah, there still are some fart jokes), and even has on of the more earnestly emotionally uplifting moments as well. Way to beat stereotypes, while still kind of being a stereotype.
I’m a little conflicted about the tone of the film. On one hand, I probably would have enjoyed this movie just as much, or more, if they didn’t force in two specific set pieces. One, involving food poisoning at a dress fitting, and another on an airplane with a drugged up Kristen Wigg wreaking havoc on the flight crew. But on the other hand, those two scenes had the loudest and most obvious laughs. I’m sure that this movie might end up getting labeled as a chick flick involving a scene with a girl pooping in a sink, but it’s more than that.
Well, I don’t know, let me put it this way; if you want a comedy with pooping in a sink, that’s definitely in Bridesmaids. But there will also be a nice story about the friendships between women. And if you want a moderately touching, yet still funny story exploring friendship and depression and loss, that’s in Bridesmaids. But then there’s also the pooping. You can’t just have one or the other with Bridesmaids, and that’s why it is a slight mess. But I found it to be a very enjoyable mess.
So behold an early frontrunner for 2011′s most tonally misrepresented trailer of the final product:
Agreeing with the note about mismatched tone between trailers and movie in particular, and wanting to underscore some real emotional depth -- not just between the women, but between Kristen Wiig's character and the two men in her life, and wrestling with her failed business and new crappy job....
...I'll add that I've never laughed harder in a movie. Not even close. My face hurt. I can still make myself laugh out loud by repeating some of the lines 3 days later. My two female viewing companions felt the same. We all laughed so hard that tears and snot were running in about equal measure, and we went through an entire travel pack of tissues.
Couple of minor notes:
--Loved Kristen Wiig in Drew Barrymore's delightful directoral debut, Whip It. A highly recommended picture for lots of other reasons too.
--Wiig's co-writer, Annie Mumolo has a cameo in Bridesmaids, listed both in the credits and at IMDb as "Nervous Woman on Plane."
--The stereotypical/not stereotypical heavyset gal is Melissa McCarthy. She's a longtime vet of the Groundlings comedy troupe, and had a soft, sweet role on The Gilmore Girls (a show I loved insanely until its last season) that was zero like this whatsoever. Not even a little. She also stars in a top-5 rated (I just checked) sitcom on called Mike & Molly on CBS that I think doesn't do her justice, but anyway, I've seen her show quite a startling range.
--The fella on the plane Melissa hits on is her real-life husband. This isn't one of the screaming funny moments of the movie, but a small indication of a movie far more nuanced than the trailer or commercials indicate.
I can see why they didn't make the pitch any more complicated than they did though. They needed to make its head pop above the May early-blockbuster season crowd, and they did. The $24+ million opening was ahead of projections, but after a killer showing at SXSW and critical raves - an opening Tomatometer score of 91%, and the highest Metacritic score of any movie now playing -- maybe they should have projected higher.
Anyhoo, I was completely nuts about this movie.
I didn't realize the co-writer was that nervous woman on the plane, that was a pretty funny character. "I had a dream about this plane going down last night... ...you were in it..."
I also forgot to note that the director of Bridesmaids, Paul Feig, was the creator (alongside producer Judd Apatow) of one of the greatest short lived television shows of all time: Freaks & Geeks. He's also directed many episodes of The Office and Arrested Development. Just to show the caliber of talent working in the director chair as well.