- Running time:
- 125 minutes
- Kristen Wiig -
- Maya Rudolph -
- Rose Byrne -
- Ellie Kemper -
- Wendi McLendon-Covey -
Life isn’t going so well for Annie (Kristen Wiig). She lost her bakery in the recession, her boyfriend broke up with her and she can barely afford rent on her crappy apartment. A whole new set of complications arise when Annie discovers her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is getting married. Now there’s a bridal shower, bachelorette party and wedding ceremony to plan, and other bridesmaids to deal with—including snooty perfectionist Helen (Rose Byrne) and boisterous oddball Megan (Melissa McCarthy).
The buzz: Wiig is the reigning MVP on “Saturday Night Live” and the latest cast member anointed for movie stardom. Her scene stealing cameo as Katherine Heigl’s co-worker in “Knocked Up” inspired director and super-producer Judd Apatow to offer Wiig the chance to write and star in a movie of her own. Four years later, Apatow makes good on the promise with “Bridesmaids,” co-written by Wiig and longtime pal Annie Mumolo and directed by Paul Feig (best known for TV work on “Freaks and Geeks,” “Arrested Development” and “The Office”).
The verdict: Somewhere inside the rambling, overstuffed, shapeless two hours of “Bridesmaids” is a refreshing, smart, touching and hilarious comedy eager to burst free. All the ingredients are here—strong performances from Wiig, Byrne and McCarthy in sharply defined characters with a minimum of lady-comedy clichés; equally solid work from co-stars Chris O’Dowd and Jon Hamm, as the good guy and the bad guy in Annie’s life; a generally relaxed and believable atmosphere; and a strong understanding of female bonding balanced with an even stronger understanding of the unnatural bonds of wedding related rituals. But the movie is generous to fault, like the work of an overeager film student afraid to blow one shot at success. It’s strange to ask a comedy to take less interest in a character’s life, but it’s just overkill to try to explore Annie at work, with her mom (Jill Clayburgh squandered in her final film role) and dealing with her obnoxious roommates, in addition to her two love interests, best friend and four other bridesmaids. Instead of deepening our understanding of the character, the extra padding only skews the ratio of hit to miss jokes in the wrong direction. So do the cynical excursions into gross out humor, seemingly included to make a “chick flick” that’s “safe” for dudes (if dudes can’t appreciate Wiig’s humor without vomit and poop jokes, the movie shouldn’t seek their approval). All the flab dulls the sharpness of the best moments—Wiig and Byrne’s biting social class rivalry, the pleasurable chemistry in Wiig’s romance with O’Dowd, and McCarthy’s inventive eccentricities. Even if “Bridesmaids” isn’t a great comedy, it’s still worth seeing for Wiig. After an impressive run of supporting roles, she proves she’s not only an essential comedienne and a deft dramatic actress, but also, unquestionably, a movie star. Now she just needs a part that’s every bit as good as she is.
Did you know? Wiig and Mumolo have a friendship and working relationship that dates back to their time at L.A. improv group the Groundlings—which also helped launch McCarthy, Rudolph and co-star Wendi McLendon-Covey.
Movie theaters and showtimes for Bridesmaids in Palm Springs.
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