Bridesmaids

Sideshow Zillas

         
 

13 May 2011| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Broad and raunchy female-driven comedy has recognizable people in it for the most part and not just a gallery of caricatures. When girls try to be like the boys in raunchy comedies, they usually forget to be what they were in the first place: People. That is not the case with Bridesmaids, although it tries so hard to pack together so many “classic” bits that such entities as jealousy and backstabbing becomes the caricature and the carrier of the caricature is Kristen Wiig, as flip and spontaneous as she is. Wiig co-wrote her own star vehicle, playing maid of honor to bride-to-be Maya Rudolph. The tug of war is between Wiig and the fabulously snooty Rose Byrne, the first bridesmaid who always steals the praises that belong to the maid of honor. The competitive struggle is vital to comedy yet Wiig hates Byrne too much, but her character should blame herself some. Much is made about how Wiig’s love life sucks, although she is number three on the dial for Jon Hamm plus she has a shot with police officer Chris O’Dowd. Sex and scatological humor is aplenty but is more in touch with contemporary women’s fears and vulnerabilities instead of it just arbitrarily existing.

Of the other three bridesmaids, only the over-plump one teeters on being a complete caricature. Melissa McCarthy might as well be the equivalent to Zach Galifianakis in “The Hangover,” but with a little time is given human elements to work with. Ellie Kemper, another bridesmaid, plays a newlywed with an overly hygiene-conscious spouse. Wendi McLendon-Covey, another bridesmaid, is an overburdened housewife looking for a vacation from her cussing kids and unromantic, bang-away husband.

Nobody is attuned to the idea that Wiig is losing credibility as a maid of honor to Byrne who conducts all the plans. At the engagement party Wiig’s oratory to her best friend is outshined by Byrne, which incites her to re-toast. At the boutique for bridesmaids dresses it’s the one time that it’s not just about Wiig disagreeing with Byrne, as it’s more about that she can’t afford the higher priced dress for herself. From thereon, the money-flush Byrne buys and sponsors just about everything including the most lavish of bridal showers. Byrne, by the way, is so great as the prissy and prim Ms. Princess Right that I thought she was one of the snoots from “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion” from nearly fifteen years ago. Not the Byrne I know from “Insidious” (2011),  “Knowing” (2009) and “Sunshine” (2007). Looks like she can play a spectrum of women from all classes.

The whole shebang derives around Wiig’s neediness. That neediness lends to self-sabotage because her lonesome character doesn’t really believe she deserves anything good that ever happens to her. She goes from Hamm’s f***buddy to the caring arms of O’Dowd but becomes the one that has to beg for an apology after making rotten mistakes. On the outset Wiig is very screwball, as in the classic tradition of the word that reaches back as far as Katherine Hepburn and Irene Dunne when dames’ klutziness got in the way of being almost pretty. But she is too much of a pain to her own self. One act of self-sabotage is human. Two acts of self-sabotage is still a plausibly flawed human. Three acts of self-sabotage is a helpless charity case. But a half-dozen acts of self-sabotage edges too much towards caricature.

Real people we recognize. Humor we can relate to. Negated to a degree because the script’s layered cake is over-frosted, all of which grates from Wiig’s barefaced unyielding dislike of Byrne. Some envy would be funnier than all out jealousy. You might like “Bridesmaids” like I did for the bits and gags that work so we plunk back and watch. All of the actresses have their golden moments, and alas, Byrne is as impenetrably flawless as a Faberge egg.

124 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

COMEDY / CHICK FLICK / SPRING AWAKENING

Film Cousins: “The Wedding Banquet” (1993, China); “Walking and Talking” (1996); “My Best Friend’s Wedding” (1997); The Sweetest Thing” (2002).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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