The trailer for Bridesmaids is actually a nifty bit of misdirection. Watch it, and one may be expecting a female version of The Hangover, while the actual movie is a very different, far superior film.
When Annie (Kristen Wiig) is asked to be a bridesmaid for her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph), she's forced to take stock and realise that her life hasn't quiet worked out how she planned. She's in way over her head, and when Lillian's friend Helen (Rose Byrne) tries to muscle in on the wedding planning duties, Annie begins a hilarious game of one-upmanship (or one-upwomanship) that, more often than not, ends in disaster for all involved.
Along the way, there's hint of romance between Annie and a charming policeman (Chris O'Dowd), but this film is really all about the women, hanging out, bickering, causing chaos and generally being hilarious.
Writer and star Kristen Wiig provides a clever script that proves adept at painting believable characters using only a few quick brush-strokes, while her lead performance as a beleaguered maid-of-honour for her best friend is impressive for just how hopeless and unpleasant she’s willing to let herself be.
Hailed as a groundbreaking achievement in terms of female-centred filmmaking Bridesmaids' greatest achievement is not so much that it features fully-realised female protagonists; it’s that it’s willing to admit that one of those protagonists is actually kind of an asshole.
The ratio of hit-to-miss jokes is up to the usual high standard of a Judd Apatow production and features an impressive balance of character-driven comedy, toilet humour and slapstick. Melissa McCarthy, playing one of the titular bridesmaids, is a comedy MVP of Galifianakensian proportions, while Rose Byrne is a fantastic as the straight woman and a nemesis largely of Wiig’s own creation.
In yet another fine bit of misdirection for a film being sold ostensibly as a raunchy comedy, the moments of pathos between the laughs (and there are a surprising amount of them) are just as watchable as the big comedy set-pieces. This is purely down to the well-realised relationships between the central characters and allows the film to operate as far more than just a smirking, gag-delivery vehicle.
The verdict: Bridesmaids a quietly subversive, hugely entertaining and thoroughly welcome entry to the modern comedy cannon.
Bridesmaids premieres on Sun 5 Aug at 20:05 on M-Net and M-Net HD. Don't miss it!
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