Summer Movie Review: Bridesmaids

If Judd Apatow isn’t the sole reason the R-rated comedy has found new life in recent years, he is very much an integral part of it. Before 2005’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the only R-rated comedies that were releasing targetted the National Lampoon audience or the poorly-written and developed parodies by folks responsible for the Scary Movie franchise.

Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo, co-writers of Bridesmaids

Apatow Productions, however, has been responsible for nearly every notable R-rated comedy of the 21st Century. Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Step Brothers are all incredibly funny films featuring a male protagonist, his group of guy friends, and how they all react to their relationships. These are ultimately the anti-romantic comedies, but the honest representation of relationships has allowed for this genre’s success.

With that in mind, it was only a matter of time until this production company took a stab at a film that was primarily centered around female relationships and bonds the way so many of the aforementioned films have explored bromances and male bonding, along with relationship romance. Bridesmaids is that film.

Jon Hamm (Mad Men) in what is about as memorable as an uncredited role can get.

Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live) stars as Annie, a down on her luck 30-something whose lack of success romantically is complemented her lack of success in all other areas of her life. She is uncomfortably living with two roommates who want her out of their apartment, and her current job as jewelry sales associate is a constant reminder that her dream career as a baker went under years ago. As she approaches her breaking point, she is met with the news that her lifelong best friend, Lillian (a very pregnant Maya Rudolph, Up All Night) just got engaged and asks Annie to be her maid of honor.

As Lillian’s other bridesmaids are introduced, Annie is left feeling insecure by her own misfortunes as well as threatened by the possibility that her best friend may be drifting away. It seems the more she realizes things can’t seemingly get much worse, it somehow does. Not helping matters by any means is the constant competition she is in with Lillian’s co-worker Helen (Rose Byrne, X-Men: First Class) for the bride-to-be’s affection.

While The Hangover 2 was the most anticipated comedy of this 2011 summer movie season, Bridesmaids is, hands down, the funniest movie of the year. Rather than simply altering gender roles while adopting the proven Apatow formula, Bridesmaids fleshes out these characters and explores each of their strengths and weaknesses. The actresses have a viable chemistry together and if this movie does for its stars what past Apatow films have done, then this group of bridesmaids will be sharing much more screen-time in the future. If that happens, it’s safe to assume Bridesmaids is only the first in a series of comedies that pay respect to what is often an over-looked gender in comedy.

Here’s to many more comedic adventures featuring this group of actresses

Wiig has particularly great moments whenever paired with Rudolph, Byrne, or Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly). The pair that really hit a homerun with the few scenes they shared was Wendi McLendon-Covey (Rules of EngagementReno 911) and Ellie Kemper (The Office). McLendon-Covey’s Rita is the ultimate cynic, a result of feeling rundown by her husband and children, whereas Kemper’s Becca is a happy newly-wed, over-romanticizing the ideology of marriage and starting a family. Perfect foils, the two bond over the realization that Becca is very much who Rita once was and Rita may very well be who Becca becomes. The payoff to this is among the long list of notable scenes in Bridesmaids..

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