Movie Review: Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids opens with a raunchy sex scene between Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig that immediately lets you know this movie isn’t going to shy away from the jaw-dropping sight gags that are a trademark of Judd Apatow-produced films.

Wiig plays Annie, a 30-something who has “hit rock bottom,” as her mom would say. Her boyfriend left her after her bakery fell victim to the recession. Now she’s pinching pennies, sharing an apartment with a brother and sister duo that give off a distinct Flowers in the Attic vibe, and trying to convince Ted (Hamm) that she’s “not like other girls” and doesn’t need a relationship – you know, unless he’d like one. When Annie’s BFF 4Eva Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announces her engagement and names Annie maid of honor, we soon learn that Annie actually has a long way to go before reaching the real rock bottom. And reach it she does, through a series of spectacularly cringe-inducing mishaps and bad decisions.

Make no mistake, Bridesmaids is hands down a Kristen Wiig vehicle. It’s an exploration of the maid of honor’s personal journey. In that way, it reminds me more of The 40-Year-Old Virgin than The Hangover. Annie falls into the trap that is all too easy to fall into – comparing her life to her friends’ and feeling her situation comes up short. It’s this consciousness of all these areas where she thinks she “doesn’t measure up” that leads her to feel immediately intimidated by Lillian’s new friendship with picture-perfect Helen (Rose Byrne) and make self-destructive decisions, like hooking up with Ted. Before you let your mind wander to your favorite Don Draper fantasy, be forewarned: Jon Hamm’s character is a megadouche. So much so that you may need to find a new lead man for your naughty daydreams. Thankfully, Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd) as Officer Rhodes, Annie’s other love interest, fills that spot quite nicely. Instead of a cheesy “falling in love” montage set to a pop-rock soundtrack, Annie and Rhodes share actual witty banter that convinces you they’re Made For Each Other as the storyline develops.

But the focal relationship in Bridesmaids is the friendship between Annie and Lillian. As many of us in our 20s and 30s can testify, a marriage changes a friendship. Annie’s fear that she is losing her best friend to a new life (one that includes a new husband, a new town, and perhaps even a new best friend) is totally understandable. Wiig and Rudolph do an excellent job portraying a realistic rapport. When Annie and Lillian exchange dirty details of Annie’s latest makeout session, it feels much more like a real conversation with a girlfriend than a Sex and the City cliche. They’re smart, silly, and obviously care about each other.

The supporting cast of bridesmaids also shines and is responsible for some of the most memorable scenes in the film. In the previews, tomboy Megan (Melissa McCarthy) comes off gruff and tiresome, and I thought I’d have to suffer through her scenes. I was wrong. McCarthy’s hilarious performance steals the spotlight almost every moment she’s on screen. Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and Becca (Ellie Kemper) play delightful foils. Rita, the jaded, longtime-married mom of three (but not those three) has quips about the darker side of raising teen boys that I could picture some of the CrassParents blogging about in a few years. In contrast, newlywed Becca is still wide-eyed over everything marriage and family-related. You leave the theater wishing the pair had more screen time and hoping they’ll show up in deleted scenes on the DVD release.

In case all this talk of personal redemption and the bonds of friendship have you running for the hills (or a movie starring The Rock), fear not. Bridesmaids combines subtle humor about the little digs and indignities of socializing when feeling less than your best with outrageous bedroom talk and gross-out gags. Poop jokes, dick jokes, and sex jokes abound. A thoughtful package wrapped up in a raucous bow, Bridesmaids is a gift that will please even the most wanton of bachelorette parties.

Worth your $149.99 or whatever it is movie tickets are going for these days?


Bridesmaids opens in theaters May 13, 2011.

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