We See Chick Flicks: “Bridesmaids”
Starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kempner
When Jon Hamm shirtless is not the best part of the movie, you know it’s a good one.
That’s my summary of “Bridesmaids” in one sentence.
But of course, there’s more to say…Annie (Kristen Wiig) and Lillian (Maya Rudolph) are best friends from back in the day. Annie’s had hard times lately: her bakery closed shop, the boyfriend she ran it with left her, and her creepy roommate is letting his super-creepy sister crash on the couch rent-free. The one sliver of sunlight looks to be her smoking hot f**k buddy, Ted (Jon Hamm, looking amazing), but Ted reveals himself in the hilarious opening sequence to be a Douchebag with a capital D. Good friend that she is, though, Annie is genuinely happy for Lillian when her pal gets engaged and is flattered to be her maid of honor.
When Annie meets the rest of Lillian’s bridesmaids, though, our heroine soon realizes maid of honor-hood is more than she, her dwindling bank account—not to mention her sanity—can handle. There’s Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), a stay-at-home mom of three boys who wants to drink herself into oblivion; Becca (Ellie Kemper from “The Office”), a naive newlywed; Megan (Melissa McCarthy from “Gilmore Girls” and “Mike & Molly”), who’s a little “off” in the same way as Zach Galifianakis’ character in “The Hangover”; and Helen (Rose Byrne), the gorgeous, rich, popular and terribly snotty wife of Lillian’s fiance’s boss.
Annie only has the best of intentions for her bridal duties — the dress fittings, the bachelorette party, the bridal shower — but Helen is always one step behind her with “a better idea” and her husband’s credit card to pay for it. She’s trapped in a spiral of self-pity and feeble attempts at one-upman-ship and oblivious to the fact she’s still quite charming in the eyes of police officer Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd, being adorable). I won’t spoil “Bridesmaids” any further, but watching Annie unravel under the pressure is so funny that you forget how cruel it really is.
This is God’s perfect movie. (OK, maybe it’s Kristen Wiig and Judd Apatow’s perfect movie, but whatever.) Amelia and I laughed from the opening credits to the closing credits, when she turned to me and said, “I would watch that all over again right now!” And we both would have. You could see “Bridesmaids” on date night, you could see it on girls’ night, or you could see it with your parents (if an extended, gross-out scene about food poisoning and diarrhea is something you can stomach next to your parents). The humor is more situational humor than jokes with punch lines, but that’s really where Kristen Wiig is brilliant: she’s not necessarily a funny joke cracker like Tina Fey is but possesses a bendable, rubber mouth and craaazy eyes that should have Jim Carrey watching his back. “Bridesmaids” is really not your standard “chick flick” at all, which is hella refreshing, yet it has all the “chick flick” components of cute guys, lustworthy costumes, and warm-and-fuzzies between moms and best friends.
Not everyone may feel the same way I do about “Bridesmaids,” though. When she read on Twitter that I was at a “Bridesmaids” screening, a girl friend in L.A. who had already seen the flick tweeted at me, “I thought it was mostly hilarious but wish it was a comedy where the gals aren’t fighting, jealous and mean to each other.” Honestly, that’s something I hadn’t considered until my friend pointed it out. There is a “grown up ‘Mean Girls‘” element to “Bridesmaids,” which is certainly problematic in terms of how women are depicted onscreen in general. But I personally saw that tension as necessary for the comedic effect. “Mean Girls” wouldn’t be “Mean Girls” and “Bridesmaids” wouldn’t be “Bridesmaids” if the women all weren’t fighting, jealous and mean to each other. Women need more diverse roles and modes of interactions in films, that is for sure. But if “Bridesmaids” is a building block toward that, I’m OK with it.
“Bridesmaids” is advertising on The Frisky’s site, but that has not influenced this review in any way.