Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"You're like the maid of dishonor."

Film: Bridesmaids
Year: 2011
Director: Paul Feig
Written by: Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd, Jill Clayburgh, Matt Lucas, Rebel Wilson, Jon Hamm.
Running time: 125 min.

Over-hype. It's a horrible thing. I tend to experience it a lot as I see most movies ten years after everyone else has hyped it up so much that my expectations are set sky high. No, I can't just stop that. I just have to live with the disappointment. Bridesmaids, which currently boasts a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and plenty of love from comedy loving cinema-goers, is a film that disappointed me. Okay, this wasn't the kind of disappointment that sends me into depression for days because I tried so hard to be like everyone else and like it but I just couldn't. It was the kind of disappointment that comes with the over-hype which over-shot the film's humour and general greatness. But hey, if there weren't such things as expectations then I probably would have been quite impressed with the flick. Well, impressed enough.

Bridesmaids has been hailed as one of the best female-driven R-rated gross-out comedies of all time. Well, to be honest, it is one of the only female-driven R-rated gross-out comedies out there, and it does spectacularly well in that field. I mean, look at the title: Bridesmaids. One would imagine that this would be some sort of chick flick about the happiest day of a woman's life and blah blah blah. It is a female-driven movie, but it is not entirely a chick flick. Yes, women would probably understand it a bit more, but men could probably get a laugh out of how gross-out this movie is. I mean, it opens with a rather long sequence of Annie (Kristen Wiig) and her 'fuck-buddy' Ted (Jon Hamm) having sex. Then it has a whole lot of women spewing everywhere and one even pooping in the sink. And then Annie goes a bit psycho on the plane because she was given sedatives with alcohol. It has women behaving badly...and this is all on the way to Lillian's (Maya Rudolph) wedding, arguably one of the most girly events ever.

There were quite a few gross-out moments which literally almost made me hurl, but that feeling was covered up by my rather loud laughing. In fact, I'm not the kind of person who laughs out loud at films that often when I am watching them alone, but I did have a few 'LOL' moments throughout the film. However, while some of the things in this movie were quite amusing and fun to watch/laugh at, some of the other things that happened in this movie weren't so great. For one thing, the film was far too long. Come to think of it, many of the more famous Judd Apatow produced comedies clock over the 110 minute mark, and often find themselves in the stretching-the-time-limit territory. Bridesmaids runs at an ambitious 125 minutes, which is similar to Apatow's Knocked Up. The latter, I feel, got away with it's strenuous running time, but Bridesmaids did not. There were some things that really could have been cut-out, as many of the scenes were a bit longer than they really needed to be, and some of the laughs were drawn out so much that they just weren't that funny any more. It's weird because I would have loved to have stayed with Bridesmaids a lot longer, but when I say that I mean the funny side to Bridesmaids, which had clever script-work from Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo and also some great improvisation from the talented female cast. But some of the Bridesmaids that I ended up with is the kind that I just wanted to run away from.

To my surprise, this film was far more dramatic than I expected it to be. Okay, as I reflect on my experience now I realise that being female-driven, of course this movie would be really dramatic. But even though it was nice to see a bit of drama which was added to perhaps balance out all of the funny and gross moments in the film, most of the time it didn't really work. Particularly because out heroine, Annie, wasn't an extremely likeable person. I sympathised with her because Helen (Rose Byrne) was taking over Lillian's wedding because she had more money and stuff, but Annie was so bitchy about it. I did really want her to go out with that nice cop Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd), but she stuffed it up so bad and then got really bitchy about it. Just every single little thing she did kinda ended up into a big bitch session, and she always seemed to moan and moan, but never really did anything about it. I know that women tend to grumble about their 'difficult lives' a lot, but Annie was just so annoying about it that while she was funny at the start, she lost her shine pretty quickly. I was particularly glad when Megan (Melissa McCarthy) gave Annie a bit of a pep talk on how her life is 'biting her on the ass' and she should stop whining about what is going so wrong in her life and start making things go right. That was both an inspirational moment and a huge relief. I do hope that Kristen Wiig emerges as a big star from this film, because as a writer and an actress, she is pretty talented - and funny, of course.

Performance-wise, this is largely an ensemble piece. It features the ever reliable comedic talent of Wiig and Rudolph, some relatively new-to-me yet likeable talent of Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey and yet another great comedic performance from Rose Byrne. She is an actress who I have always liked, and after this and Get Him to the Greek I am ready to believe that maybe her true talent lies in comedy. However, people have been all for Melissa McCarthy's performance, even suggesting a possible Oscar nomination for the scene-stealer. While I doubt that she will get a look in there (I would be genuinely surprised if they picked her, because her performance isn't really the Oscar's 'type'), she really did steal any scene that she possibly could, and added a lot of  humour where it was needed most. These women all did rather well with their different and quite complex characters, and especially their improvisation. Unfortunately, despite their talent - and the many 'LOL' moments - Bridesmaids just wasn't that great for me. I won't be so quick to write it off completely, as I'd love to see it again, but I'm not so quick to shower it with praise like everyone else. And I know this is more than just a knee-jerk reaction, because I've been dwelling on the film's mediocrity for most of the day.

But still, women are funny.

What I got:


  1. Most overrated film of the year in my opinion. Sure, women can be funny (and gross) but the extended gags (the speeches, the plane stuff) became more irritating than funny - and for me, that's a no no. I actually felt anger in a comedy. Kristen Wiig was great and Melissa McCarthy added some laughs, but this is really just a typical romcom, but it takes it that extra step (and pads the running time) by throwing in some gutsy but funny-for-a-moment comedy set-pieces. I'm almost alone in thinking this, but I really disliked this film.

  2. Great review! I wanted to see it in cinemas, but somehow, I didn't make it! I thought, as I've heard, that it would be great! Interesting to read your review, maybe I'll give it a try during the hollidays!

  3. I didn't think this was as perfect as so many people made it seemed, but it did have me laughing a lot and I liked how raunchy these chicks could be. However, it's way too long. Good review Stevee.

  4. Yeah, even I didn't love it as much as everyone else. I thought the name Bridesmaids was a bit deceiving because I felt it focused too much on Wiig's character. In this instance, I wished it was more like Hangover and everyone had equal footing.

  5. I agree it's over long like so much Apatow produced stuff but it felt shorter than Knocked Up which I though dragged. The scene in the airplane was hilarious and Wiig calling that girl in the shop a little c**t had me in stitches. Fowl but f**king funny!

  6. I liked Bridesmaid although I didn't think it was great. I think it's an important film because it was so popular at the box office which will hopefully lead to more female-centric comedies down the road.

  7. Andy - Yes, it was a typical rom-com that went the extra step! It was such a shame that it wasn't nearly as good as I thought it would be. I liked it a lot more than you, but I agree, it was pretty damn overrated!

    Aziza - Still give it a go...I haven't written it off completely!

    Dan - I did have quite a few laughs too. Thanks!

    Nikhat - Yes, it did focus on Wiig's character far too much. I personally found the secondary characters far more interesting. Especially Byrne's and McCarthy's...the latter one turned out to be actually quite inspirational. Plus, I felt like Kemper's character was 'just there', but I wish she'd been in it more.
    And yes, I wish it was more like The Hangover too!

    pturner1010 - Haha, that part had me in stitches too!

    Castor - Yes, it is an important film, and hopefully female-centric comedies can only get better!

  8. Great review Stevee, I actually never saw this film, but it looks amazing!

  9. Nice take. I'm glad the film did so well because it was refreshing to see a big screen female comedy like this (last example I can think of is maybe Mean Girls?).

    I'm pretty sure I heard recently that Natalie Portman was trying to get more female-driven comedies produced or funded or something, but she got turned down by studios. Sucks for her I guess.

    I agree on the unexpected amount of drama. I tried explaining to someone that I found that weird and they couldn't understand what I was talking about.

    I liked that Annie's character was a bit unlikeable at first. Another recent character that I would compare her to would be Wikus from District 9. Completely different characters and films, but making the characters unlikeable at first makes their eventual redemption and triumph even better.

    Again, great review!

  10. Matt - It's not amazing, but it's okay enough.

    Robert - Yeah, last good female comedy was Mean Girls. That one was bloody brilliant.
    Damn...I wouldn't see Natalie Portman as the comedy type.
    Haha, I loved Wikus. He was a good laugh! Interesting connection!

  11. I guess Portman likes a good comedic role. "Your Highness" and whatever that recent Ashton Kutcher one was. Plus that rap video she did on SNL. That one's probably the only one that's actually funny.

  12. I wouldn't really call this movie mediocre - it's Globe-worthy at the least thanks to McCarthy's scene-stealing work. But I found the middle really depressing just because we're stuck with Annie for those parts.


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