Friday 1 July 2011

Review: Bridesmaids

Year: 2011
Director: Paul Feig
Screenplay: Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Chris O Dowd, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy

Synopsis is here

Bridesmaids is like most Apatow graced features; there's a lot of swearing, some low brow humour and a lot of heart. The only difference appears to be that instead of the typical man-child leads usually given, we instead follow an oddjob group of girls (led by Kristen Wiig) as they stumble over obstacles and clash their particular personalties before a friends wedding.

The gender switch had many column ichers hyping and writing as there is a strong belief to some that not only the mainstream American comedy is struggling, but that the female gender, may or may not be particularly funny in the first place.

The latter half of the argument, I find similar to the race argument that pops it's head up from time to time. The media world is dominated by in real life by a certain cultural group and mindset, so of course the art and entertainment reflects said group the most. It has it's disadvantages and outrages as you expect, but for the most part it's understandable. The problem is for me (and I believe many others) is when the dominance becomes a full on stranglehold on whatever minority. So when something like Bridesmaids slips out, makes money and is generally liked there is a certain amount of shock.

I was a little shocked myself as while Bridesmaids has some laugh out loud funny moments (two brilliantly put together set pieces on a plane and wedding dress store) as well as some smaller titter worthy scenes, I was adequately amused no more, no less. My issues have nothing to do with the gender of the cast (although a refreshing change), I just felt that as a film, it could have been a little tighter, some of the characters could have been a little more prominent and not all the jokes worked on me as much as I had hoped.

With this said, in my opinion Bridesmaids is far superior to the Hangover 2; particularly in cast, with breakout star Melissa McCarthy being a much better trade off compared to Zack Galifiankis as her character actually has something to do (it seems lot of of Galifiankis' appeal is that he has a beard and slightly off-kilter appearance). Rose Byrne shows she has more than enough chops to hang out with a comic clan, and while largely ignored, the pairing of Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey share some nice banter with each other. The film is a grand display for one Kristen Wiig. Now finally given a stage to show more prominence, Wiig shows off a great balance of slapstick, timing and pathos. Wiig manages to give the role of Annie the neurotic tendencies you'd expect from a Bridget Jones style character, but none of the irritation.

There is enough within Bridesmaids to show that American comedy is doing fine in the right films. Gender arguments aside, there's also a great amount of sweetness to be found in the characters that helps elevate humour, which is what some comedies have been missing. It didn't stop the feeling I got that Bridemaids loses some laughs in the latter half and that the film could have been raunchier and less meandering at points. But as a whole Bridesmaids was certainly worth the ticket price.