Review: BRIDESMAIDS (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 12 September 2011

Review: BRIDESMAIDS (2011)


Hailed by critics as "the female version of THE HANGOVER", BRIDESMAIDS was a surprise hit in the summer season, grossing at $168 million at the box-office so far for 18 weeks and still counting since the movie debuted in U.S. on May 13, 2011. Despite almost five months after the U.S. release that this breakout comedy finally manages to reach to our local cinema, it's better late than never to find out what's the fuss is all about. I must say after watching this movie, BRIDESMAIDS has its few genuine moments blessed with top-notch casts, excellent comic timing and thoughtful storyline. Unfortunately, it's also an overrated comedy that works better in individual scenes than a coherent whole.

For thirty-something Annie (Kristen Wiig), her life is a huge failure -- her beloved bakery went out of business and she ends up working unhappily at a jewelry shop; she shares an apartment with two oddball British siblings (Matt Lucas, Rebel Wilson); and her so-called love life is more on having sex regularly with a handsome and insensitive rich man named Ted (Jon Hamm).

Then along comes a shocking news that her lifelong best friend Lilian (Maya Rudolph) is about to get married. She gets to be the maid of honor, and agrees to organize all of the events leading up to the big wedding day. Soon she meets up the rest of the bridesmaids including Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), a boring wife and mother looking forward to have some fun at the upcoming bachelorette party; Becca (Ellie Kemper), a naive Disney-loving newlywed who hasn't yet experienced the realities of marriage; and the groom's chubby sister, Megan (Melissa McCarthy), a rough and straight-talking government worker. Last but not least is Helen (Rose Byrne), a wicked trophy wife of Lilian's boss. Helen's presence has immediately made Annie feels threatened, who seems to have everything plan out and particularly loves to upstage her at every turn.

It doesn't take long before Annie's subsequent days during the pre-wedding preparation gradually becomes a series of disasters. On the other side, Annie begins to flirt around with a nice-guy Irish cop named Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd) after he pulls her over one night thinking she's driving drunk.

Clocking at two hours length, Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig's screenplay is chock full of various moments happen all at once. No doubt the result feels like a sitcom-variety material, which in turn, becomes one of the glaring weaknesses in this movie. Veteran director Paul Feig (TV's The Office) seems to have a lot of ideas and loves to mash everything up he can think of, but doesn't quite know how to hold back when he needs to.

However, if you can overcome most of the flaws, the movie remains recommended enough to watch for. The cast is mostly a knockout. Kristen Wiig, a former Saturday Night Live star, delivers a tour de force performance as the emotionally-unstable Annie. She is very good when comes to comic timing, and even during heartbreaking moments. In fact, she steals most of the limelight here with plenty of memorable scenes here and there -- a touching scene scored to Fiona Apple's Paper Bag where she bakes an ornate cupcake for herself; the scene where she share her sex life with Lilian over a cup of coffee; the scene where she and Helen become competitive by upstaging each other in their speeches at the engagement party; the scene at the airplane where she becomes too drunk and start acting crazy in front of everybody; the scene where she goes all haywire and starts spurting profanities in front of everybody during Annie's bridal shower; and last but not least -- in my opinion, perhaps the movie's best and most innovative scene -- the one where Annie goes to every length possible to break driving laws in order to get the attention of Officer Rhodes. Wiig is a true breakout star -- she is simply spontaneous and no doubt she will have a great acting career ahead in Hollywood.

The rest of the supporting actors are equally credible as well, with Maya Rudolph carries a certain depth in her genuine character as bride-to-be Lilian whose friendship with Wiig's Annie feels real and involving. The usually serious Rose Byrne is a surprising revelation -- she displays an excellent gift of comic material as the snotty Helen who loves to challenge Annie all the time. Not only that, at one point, her character also subsequently grows into a sympathetic person especially in a crucial scene she starts to confess her feeling to Annie towards the climactic finale. Melissa McCarthy is also funny and spontaneous as the chubby and sexually ravenous Megan. Like Wiig and Byrne, she also displays a sense of hidden charm beneath her tough exterior -- in one inspired scene, she make a confession where she hopes to help and befriend Annie if only she'll let her. However, both Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper doesn't give much chance to strut their stuffs. As for the male counterparts, Chris O'Dowd is charming as the good-hearted Officer Rhodes while Jon Hamm is appropriately sleazy enough as Annie's on-and-off sex partner Ted.

While Paul Feig's direction may have been uneven, he is still destined to become the next Judd Apatow (who also the producer for this movie) in the near future (in fact he is Apatow's longtime associate). Maybe he's not as polished as Apatow yet but you can see the generous mix of sentiment and raunch he put into his movie does show some valuable signs of an efficient filmmaker. Speaking of raunch, he does them well without going overboard even though they are meant to be gross-out gags. One particular scene worth mentioning for is where the bride and the bridesmaids end up in poor health condition due to food poisoning when they try their wedding gowns at a bridal shop.

BRIDESMAIDS may not be a perfect chick flick one might expect, but good enough to make this as one of the best comedies of the year.

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