When you slap the likes of Superbad, 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up on your movie poster and then display your female cast of comedians below you’re setting yourself up for some pretty confused looks. After all, those three films are all about male bonding and coming of age (in very different ways). They’re bromances and when you take the bros out of the bromance all that’s left over is the mance and that, my friends, is even less of a word than bromance is.
What I’m trying to say here is that Bridesmaids, whose poster I was alluding to above, is a movie trying to be a bromance, but with women. This it turns out is actually just a romance (not a mance at all) with more poop jokes and sex. Though it does raise one question for the male audience. Is this how girls feel watching all those comedies geared towards us?
At it’s roots Bridesmaids is a romantic comedy about a wedding. This is hardly a new idea. Annie (Kristen Wiig) is chosen by her childhood best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) to be her maid of honor. Unfortunately for Annie, Lillian has a new best friend, Helen (Rose Byrne) in her new life with her husband. Annie has a lot of trouble competing with Helen. Helen is rich and gorgeous and seemingly hell bent on making Lillian better friends with her than with Annie. Meanwhile, Annie has lost confidence in herself after her bakery has closed, and is dead set on ruining a new romantic relationship with local cop Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd). She can’t really pull anything off right and this makes her friendship with almost everyone start to fall apart.
The more adult oriented romantic comedy, which is pretty much what Bridesmaids turned out to be, isn’t anything new, but Bridesmaids does take it in some interesting directions by focusing more on the relationship between the female characters than Annie’s romantic relationship. The film attempts to be more about Annie and Lillian, but is actually just about Annie. Thanks to this a lot of the feminine bonding feels awfully forced or contrived. The reason guys dig the bromance so much is that the focus is on exactly that, but with Bridesmaids the end result is that you feel more emotion towards Annie and Rhodes’ relationship than Annie and Lillian’s despite the fact that the film is about the latter and not the former. It also doesn’t help that Helen is so mean and narcissistic that it’s hard to watch her as a believable character instead of simply a foil so that Annie can fall out of the good graces of her best friend.
However, if we don’t judge Bridesmaids as the female version of a bromance and decide that it is simply a romantic comedy with plenty of dirty jokes then the picture becomes far rosier. Annie and Rhodes’ relationship is actually quite charming, especially since O’Dowd is such a fantastically believable and charming romantic interest. Not the normal super cute and actually impossible to find kind of guys that always take their shirts off in your standard romantic comedy, Rhodes is actually a guy you could see a women truly falling in love with. He and Wiig share some fantastically charming moments on screen with each other and while Rudolph and Wiig are both fine together you end up wishing the movie actually was about Annie and Rhodes and not Annie and Lillian.
The comedy is gross out and spot on for the most part as well (I’m guessing even more so if you’re a woman). Wiig, who I usually can’t stand, actually shows some acting chops in her first leading role in a film and is thankfully restrained in her comedy, which makes it all the more hilarious. I’d have to say that the wonderful Maya Rudolph is terribly underutilized throughout the film, but Wiig makes up for it along with Melissa McCarthy who plays Lillian’s, shall we say, outspoken sister-in-law. McCarthy is the Zach Galifianakis of the movie and gets the best lines along with the meaningful ones. I’m not about to say she’s as funny as he was in The Hangover, but she definitely pulls some solid laughs. Wiig and her together pull off a fantastic comedic duo, though it is Wiig who really makes the movie funny when it comes down to it.
I like the idea that women have their version of a bromance in film form, but I just wish the female bromance in Bridesmaids had been executed a little better. If the film had taken a few more risks and headed down a path that was really about two best friends instead of just one of the best friends I think it would have pulled the entire idea off far better. Still, Bridesmaids offers up one of the more enjoyable romantic comedies you’ll see. It’s also one of the rare few that will make guys and girls laugh just as easily even if the guys aren’t in on the jokes as much. Whatever your opinion of the film is you’ll definitely come out of it with a new respect for Wiig’s comedy and acting skills.
Jenika Katz: Why? Why didn’t I trust my instincts on this one, or at least the awful trailers? Max tried to warn me, but I didn’t listen to him, either. Why didn’t I listen?
Bridesmaids is the saddest excuse for a buddy movie that I’ve ever seen, and I’m ashamed that it’s being advertised as the female equivalent of The Hangover. It’s like someone tried to write a romantic comedy, failed, and threw in some fart jokes to try to make it appeal to a broader audience. It’s hard to care about any of the female characters, Wiig included. Most girls have at least one friend who keeps making the same stupid mistakes over and over and then crying about it, and Wiig’s character is that friend. I don’t know why that seemed like it would make a good personality for the heroine, because it took me the entire movie to find her even somewhat likeable. The other girls are okay, but bland. I thought I would hate McCarthy’s character, but she’s actually one of the most interesting and got a lot of the better jokes.
This could have been an interesting movie about a woman dealing with her best friend’s wedding while recovering from the crushing blow of her failed business, but Bridesmaids decides to ignore the more interesting aspects of Annie’s life in favor of overly-long scenes and obvious improv that shouldn’t have made the final cut. It fails as a romantic comedy, too, because the romantic interest looks weird (not in a cute way) and is really creepily pushy about Annie’s career. If my one-night stand woke me up with the “surprise” of telling me to bake for him, I would not call him again. Similarly, if a guy took me to this movie because he thought it was funny, I also wouldn’t call him again. Pass. For the love of God, pass. 34 – Bad