For the past 5 years Kristen Wiig has been lighting up the screen with snarky performances in small supporting roles. Today she has finally been given a chance to be front and center, playing the lead character. Sadly, like all great comedians, Bridesmaids doesn’t capture Wiig’s talents to the fullest. That’s not to say the film is laugh free because there are, despite its sluggish narrative, spurts of comedic gold.
Directed by Paul Feig, Bridesmaids stars Kristen Wiig as Annie – a middle-aged, distressed woman who has recently lost her bakery – and to make matters worse, constantly divulges in unromantic sex as a third string booty call with a callous wealthy man (played by John Hamm). Ironically while Annie’s life appears to be going up in flames, her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph) has recently become engaged – ultimately heading for matrimony. Still, despite her own problems (emotionally and financially) she agrees to be the maid-of-honor (or dishonor if you take into account her future actions).
No need for further plot examination as you could directly correlate it with The Hangover, the men and Las Vegas substituted with women and Milwaukee. This is depressingly underwhelming. The casting here is lackluster compared to the talent of Wiig. Puny Milwaukee is about as exciting as watching paint dry. And unlike many of the pictures Apatow has built her name on (Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Superbad) the plot of Bridesmaids is thin and drastically contrived.
Regardless of the film’s flaws, there are a few things to be salvaged here. In particular Annie, thanks to Wiig’s natural nuance, creates a playful atmosphere despite her life slowly dwindling down to rock bottom. Not to mention the wildly comedic script, co-written by Wiig and Annie Mumolo, and a fantastic supporting performance from Chris O’Dowd who plays the cop that may or may not be the new love interest in Annie’s life. Those bright spots add some much needed wit and charm to this rather dumbstruck comedy.
For marketing reasons, Bridesmaids is being advertised as a Judd Apatow picture. It most certainly is not (he produced it). What Apatow does so well in his films, is create a comedic atmosphere full of cruel and juvenile humor while still projecting some tenderness underneath it all.
However, what I found exceedingly distracting was the amount of not-so compelling material. Practically every character is a stereotype. The older wife who despises marriage, the newly wed who is about as innocent as Mother Theresa, and a stay at home mother who projects perfection but like everyone else, is far from it. Every dramatic scene is weak and unnecessary making the final climatic sequence neither funny nor heartwarming.
Still, Kristen Wiig is a star in the making and I suspect many will enjoy the over-the-top, raunchy nature of the picture. But as tired as a Joan Rivers stand up act, Bridesmaids is full of crude and rude humor, and never quite knows when to quit.
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