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Wednesday, May 18, 2011  

M. Ovie Reviews: Bridesmaids

Here's what I expected Bridesmaids to be that it wasn't: an ensemble comedy set largely in Vegas. Here's what I expected Bridesmaids to be that it was: quite funny.

The ad campaign implies two hours hanging out with six mismatched women, but there really aren't that many scenes with all six of them. And it's not really about the wedding, which mostly just provides a framework for a story of a person and a friendship in crisis. I know, you're laughing already, right?

The thing is, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph are not only completely believable as lifelong best friends, they're also really funny together. There are plenty of over-the-top set pieces in this movie, but there are also some nice bits where it's just the two of them hanging out together and talking shit about people. Their relationship is complicated by the usual grown-up issues, namely Lillian (Rudolph) going off and getting married to some rich guy in Chicago while Annie (Wiig) is stuck in Milwaukee with a failed business, creepy-ass roommates, a lackluster love life, a crap job, and a car that's pretty much a running gag. At least Annie gets to be Lillian's maid of honor, but one of the other bridesmaids presents as a possible rival for not only that position but that of Lillian's best friend. So the rest of the movie is about how Annie, who's kind of awkward and goofy just as her baseline, takes that baseline further and further down in a spiral of embarrassment, ugly scene-making, and bodily fluids.

I wasn't expecting Kristen Wiig to carry the whole movie the way she does, but she's quite good. After all, she looks like someone who could actually have these problems, as opposed to if this had been a different movie with Katherine Heigl or Kate Hudson, possibly denoting vulnerability by taking their hair a few shades darker.

Also really good is recidivist kleptomaniac Melissa McCarthy, who used to steal all her scenes on Gilmore Girls and Samantha Who? and for all I know Mike & Molly, which I don't watch, and then she does the same thing here. She's always played characters who are sweet if a little off-kilter, but here she's playing against type as Maya Rudolph's future sister-in-law Megan. She's aggressive and butch (but straight, oh yes), and you won't believe some of what comes out of her mouth. And, in one scene, other orifices.

Because this is a non-Heigl/Hudson movie in more ways than one. There's the obligatory scene where all the bridesmaids go into the dress store for the fitting and you're bracing for a musical montage of dress-trying-on, and instead we're suddenly in a full-on gross-out scene. I appreciated that quite a bit.

I also appreciated that there isn't any lip-syncing until the very end, and it's funny and embarrassing instead of just embarrassing like that kind of scene usually is.

I would have liked to see more of what I expected, ensemble-wise. Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey have a nice relationship as women on opposite ends of the innocence spectrum, but there needed to be more of that and less of Annie dealing with the two men in her life who both kind of dicks, although in different ways and to vastly different degrees. But that's quibbling. I think it's a winner.

And although they're very different in most ways, this movie has two big things in common with Sucker Punch: Trash picked both for me, and they both have Jon Hamm in them.

posted by M. Giant 8:19 PM 0 comments


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