Movies: "Bridesmaids" | Arts & Culture

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Movies: "Bridesmaids"
Movies: "Bridesmaids"

 

Sigmund Freud once asked the question, “What do women really want?”  Thanks to “Bridesmaids,” we now have the answer:  to make us laugh uproariously.

 

You may have heard how this movie came to be.  Impressed by Kristen Wiig’s supporting performance in 2007’s “Knocked Up,” producer-director Judd Apatow told her that if she brought him a screenplay he’d put it on screen.   Wiig (who regularly steals the show on “Saturday Night Live”) got together with comedy sketch pal Annie Mumulo (who has a cameo in “Bridesmaids” as the nervous woman on the plane) to write this movie.  

 

The results are very much in the Apatow vein:  smart, raunchy, sweet and very, very funny.

 

So here we have Wiig as Annie, a Milwaukee (which by the way, looks really nice here) single whose cake shop just went bust, who shares an apartment with two hideous British siblings, drives a beat-up Toyota and is stuck in a loveless physical relationship with a cad played by Jon Hamm.  When best friend Lillian (SNL alum Maya Rudolph) breaks the news that she’s getting married and wants Annie to be her Maid of Honor, we see the the mixed emotions fly across Annie’s face.

 

What makes it even worse for Annie is that Lillian has enlisted the wealthy and domineering Helen (Rose Byrne) as one of her bridesmaids, along with gal pals Becca (Ellie Kemper of “The Office”), Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey of “Reno 911”) and (best casting of all) Megan, played by the terrific Melissa McCarthy of “Gilmore Girls” and, more recently, “Mike & Molly”.  As Helen starts to take over the wedding preparations, an increasingly desperate Annie tries to fight back.

 

Without giving too much away, what follows is a series of set-piece comedic situations, including a scatological fitting at a fancy bridal boutique, a zany flight to Las Vegas and a catastrophic garden party.  Imagine Lucille Ball in a 21st century comedy and you might have an inkling of the performance that Wiig delivers in this movie.  Everything this woman tries to do to maintain her role as chief bridesmaid backfires on her in one hilarious way or another.

 

Fortunately for Annie, there are a couple of people on her side, including the late (and sorely missed) Jill Clayburgh as her mother, who attends AA meetings even though she’s never touched alcohol, and Irish-born Chris O’Dowd (“Pirate Radio”) as a local cop who sees beyond her busted tail lights.  You can foretell where this plot element is going, but not before Wiig carries out one of the funniest scenes in the entire movie as she tries to get his attention.

 

“Bridesmaids” was directed by Paul Feig, who has helmed such outstanding TV comedies as “The Office” and “Arrested Development”.  It may focus on the distaff side of an upcoming wedding, but I guarantee you it will also appeal to the men in the audience -- even though the men play a relatively small part in this movie.  It's really about women -- and what they really want.

 

I know that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences prefers to honor actors who play characters with deep emotional or physical disabilities, but I say that Kristen Wiig should get an Oscar nomination for her heartfelt comic performance in this movie, and Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy should get supporting actor nods.  

 

There, I’ve said it.

 

“Bridesmaids” is rated R for its raunchy sexual comedy.  I give it an A for making me laugh hours after I saw it.

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