Bridesmaids (2011) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
14May/110

Bridesmaids (2011)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

Danny LIKE"Good?!" my girlfriend yelled after the end of Bridesmaids, the last scene of which involved a woman feeding a half naked man a sandwich while pretending he's a bear. "How can you just say this was just good?!"

I laughed my ass off at Bridesmaids. It's a completely raucous film that, while being sold as an ensemble film, is wholly the story of Annie (Kristen Wiig).

She's at a low point in her life. The bakery she once owned has gone under, the man who used to cook her cupcakes ran off, her new boytoy is an obnoxious twit with a nice smile, and she's roommates with two bulbous British nitwits. Her best friend since childhood, Lilian (Maya Rudolph), has reemerged with a shiny new ring on her finger, and it's up to Annie to pull her life together and/or help pull off an amazing wedding.

Usually you should avoid making other people have miserable lives by not making this face at them.

Her rival is Helen, a wealthy socialite who chooses to undermine her in an attempt to win Lilian's real affection. This rivalry between the two sets up most of the complications in the movie. Will Lilian dump Annie for Helen? And can Annie fall any further in her attempt to hit rock bottom?

And while that's more plot than we probably need, there's still plenty more. The cast is depressingly ill-served outside of Wiig. Ellie Kemper (of "The Office") and Wendi McLendon-Covey (of "Reno 911") are barely given a few minutes of screen time, with a lot of antics being reserved for Melissa McCarthy (of "Gilmore Girls"). McCarthy is more than up to the task, mind you, but even her character seems more bound to conventions of screenplay's necessities than any real human emotion.

And that underlines the problem that I do have with the film, as, structurally, it's all thumbs. Character arcs flicker into being and and vanish abruptly. There are more montages here than anyone could ever hope for, and all of the film's character arcs that do get closure end not with bangs but whimpers.

However, there are some puppies, so there's that.

Digging into the film, you'll discover a smorgasbord of female fears. Sadly, there seem to be no answers to most of the problems it presents and those it does are woefully mishandled. What do you do with a wedding ceremony planned that goes so overbudget that it bankrupts the father of the bride? Uh, well, that plot point gets dropped. What happens when you end up spending a ton of money you don't have on a friend's wedding? Well, that gets dropped too. The whole movie seems to have a weird pro-insane-debt undercurrent that is also sent to the showers before anyone can comment upon it.

Even then, most people don't go into comedies expecting more than to laugh, and this film provides those at a fairly robust rate. There was a woman behind me whose reaction to every uptick in the film's gross out quotient was a frustrated "Really?!", but her opinion seemed to be very much in the minority.

As a comedy and a showcase for Wiig's usually mishandled talent, Bridesmaids is full of good moments. But as a film, it feels like a lot of wasted opportunities.

Posted by Danny

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