Bridesmaids (2011)

Annie (Kristen Wiig), is a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), and a group of colorful bridesmaids (Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper) on a wild ride down the road to ma

MPAA Rating:
125 Minutes
Paul Feig
Kristen Wiig

Northwest Military's Review

Rev. Adam McKinney on May 11th, 2011

The Judd Apatow universe - featuring movies like Superbad, Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall - has been criticized for being too much of a boys' club, and not featuring interesting roles for women. Bridesmaids, co-written by and starring SNL's Kristen Wiig, attempts to correct this.

Like the stars of other Apatow-affiliated movies, Annie (Wiig) is an aimless thirtysomething who finds herself unlucky in love and just about everything else in life. Unlike other Apatow heroes, however, she isn't in this position because she is desperately clinging to youth. She wants to improve her life, but is utterly clueless about how to do it. She seeks a relationship with a man (Jon Hamm) who makes it clear every second he is with her that he'd rather be with someone else.

When Annie's best friend since childhood, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), announces that she's getting married, Annie is picked to be the maid of honor, much to her delight and terror. She then meets Lillian's new close friend, Helen (Rose Byrne), a well-meaning but clingy, bourgeois woman who seeks to surreptitiously usurp Annie's position as best friend.

On the road to the wedding, there are numerous mishaps and unfortunate events that it would be unfair for me to reveal. Part of the joy of these events is not in their inventiveness (because we've seen variations on these scenarios in other comedies) but in the deftness of their execution. More than in most comedies, and without the occasionally obnoxious air of free association that can pop up in other Apatow projects, these characters are allowed to be funny and know they're funny as people. They can recognize funny situations they're in and comment on them like real people would.

In a film with such a high comedy pedigree - including director Paul Feig, creator of the late, great Freaks and Geeks - there are two standout performances: Chris O'Dowd, as the impossibly charming and lovable state trooper who comes into Annie's life, and Melissa McCarthy in what will surely be a breakout role as Lillian's fiancée's sister, Megan. She has what can effectively be referred to as the "Zach Galifianakis role" - the wild-card comic relief. But she approaches the role in such an original way. She's eccentric, but she's not stupid; she's sexually aggressive, but she's super positive and nice; she is never the cause of misfortune, but rather an interested observer.

By the end of Bridesmaids, I was surprised to find how much affection I had developed for these characters. Sure, there's conflict and hardships and misunderstandings, but there is no bad guy. Even Helen is trying to do the right thing, when it comes down to it. She just doesn't quite know how.

Annie's mother, played by the now-late Jill Clayburgh, goes to AA meetings, despite having never touched a drink in her life. She just enjoys the stories and giving her support. In passing these stories on to Annie, she is sometimes reminded that the members are meant to be anonymous, and corrects herself by abbreviating the last names of the people involved.

Even in a character as small as Clayburgh's, there are these rich and finely observed details that help to make this something more than just another Apatow movie. - Three and a half stars

comments powered by Disqus