Written by: Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo
Directed by Paul Feig
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Chris O'Dowd, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Hamm
"Better than The Hangover!" That's what the poster says...since when is The Hangover the bar by which great comedy should be judged? Well, whatever the case may be, that poster boast is definitely correct. Bridesmaids, in the guise of a gross-out comedy is beyond anything The Hangover could ever dream of...
The hype from the States was huge but in my eyes the film more than lived up to it. Don't get me wrong, Bridesmaids is crass, silly, fun and follows the classic rom-com template. There's nothing new here. It's just that it gets every convention and nails it perfectly. It takes every low-brow joke and gives it class. It takes potentially cliched characters and make you seriously feel for them. A combination of top-notch performances and first-class direction from Paul Feig ensured every comic beat is hit, and the best is made of every joke.
The story follows Annie (Kristen Wiig), a woman on the verge of forty, whose business collapsed and boyfriend scuppered, taking with him her sense of self and every ounce of her energy and ambition. Her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announces she's getting married and she wants Annie to be her maid of honour but Lillian's new, prettier, richer, sweeter best friend Helen (Rose Byrne) is trying every underhanded trick in the book to upstage Annie. At the core of the film is Annie's journey from decadent passivity to realisation that she has hit rock bottom to a slow, realistic effort to find her spark again. The journey is truly a touching one and it helps tremendously that Kristen Wiig puts in a powerhouse performance. Her quick, razor-sharp wit and vulnerability allows us to forgive the unfortunate behaviour she exhibits at her lowest point.
Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy are all outstanding in their roles, each making the most of their meaty roles, superbly written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. This screenplay is deserving of all kinds of awards but I predict that, like Judd Apatow's horribly overlooked Funny People it will probably be deemed too much fun to earn awards.
I can only presume that Bridesmaids will be as successful here as in the States. The magical combination of girly and gross-out should satisfy everyone and the balance of low-brow and high-brow should even keep the grumpy critics happy!
- Charlene Lydon