Review: BRIDESMAIDS - Takes Wedding Comedy Into Fun New Territory

rating: 4

It's official, the wedding-based comedy is taking off big time. This latest twist on the genre sees Kristen Wiig pen herself a leading role as Annie, a neurotic maid of honour struggling to cope with the wedding preparations as her life crumbles around her. The bride is lifelong friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph), and Annie couldn't be more excited. But as the warm-up events, dress fittings and various parties get underway, it becomes painfully apparent that meddling new friend Helen (Rose Byrne) is trying to take over. Wiig puts in a fantastic performance as Annie, and excels in this kind of zany comedy. It combines gross-out scenes (ever seen a bridesmaid crap in a sink?) with absurdly funny moments of cringeworthy insight brilliantly. From it's opening with one of the funniest sex scenes on celluloid through to a furious Annie smashing a giant cookie, Bridesmaids had us snorting with laughter again and again. In fact, few scenes in 'The Hangover' made me laugh nearly as much as some of the great jokes packed in here. (No scenes from 'The Hangover: Part II' had me laughing at all, but that's another story.) The supporting Bridesmaids cover a wide range of comedy archetypes, and actually I found myself wanting to see a bit more. Particularly if they could have been substituted for Annie's superfluous British housemates, who serve little purpose and offer proportionally far fewer funny scenes. Aside from Helen, whose war with Annie makes up the bulk of the story, the most used bridesmaid was Megan (Melissa McCarthy), a butch tomboy who stands out as the most crass of the group. Aside from her bullishness bringing a healthy dose of 'bloke' humour for the male audience members, she has some great lines and a couple of surprising twists. An under-sexed housewife and a devout Christian newlywed make up the numbers, but are barely used. The most disappointing moment of the film comes when a hen party promises so much from the bridesmaid odd couple, only to fizzle out in another Annie neurosis. Still, the laughs are relatively regular, and the obligatory romantic subplot (it verges perilously close to rom-com territory at times) is rather well done. The love interest is cop Nathan Rhodes, and he's played with great wit and charm by Chris O'Dowd, who has been struggling to find a meaty role in Hollywood. The pair manage to squeeze in plenty of gags alongside the sweet moment and it fleshes Annie's character out far beyond her personal woes and comedic idiosyncrasies. Overall I could have done with a few characters being cut and some of the more boistrous comedy being continued. But shrewd direction from 'American Office' helmer Paul Feig and great work on the script and acting fronts by Wiig make this a thoroughly enjoyable comedy that takes the wedding setting into fun new territory. Bridesmaids was released in the U.K. today.
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