May 29, 2011
Bridesmaids' plot operates in a mostly standard fashion: chronic failure Annie (Wiig) must compete with elegant, snotty, rich Helen (Rose Byrne) as she takes on the duty of being the maid of honor for her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph). We identify with Annie right away, even though Helen isn't a complete bitch. She's close, but the movie isn't going to let us hate her with impunity.
In fact, the complexity of these women and their relationships is what gives Bridesmaids such personality. Besides that, director Paul Feig doesn't rush the humor. He knows how talented the cast is, and he lets them take time building the jokes to a crescendo. You laugh so much you'll miss half the gags, but what's going on visually is just as funny as what's being said, so you eventually become exhausted because you're laughing so much of the time. Bridesmaids is like a really good mixed drink and a really crude joke combined. The crudeness goes down easier because of the buzz you're feeling--as well as the sweetness, which isn't saccharine but genuine sugar.
I enjoyed the predictable relationship developing between Annie and a likable Irish cop, played by Chris O'Dowd. And Melissa McCarthy stole every scene she was in as the bride's sister-in-law to-be, a plump, plucky, and socially awkward self-made woman whose eccentric personality seems to render her oblivious to the drama that's unfolding between the other women. Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper round out the group of bridesmiads (the first one is a discontented housewife and mother of three, and the second a dreamy-eyed newlywed who's obsessed with Disney World and domestic life).
Wiig's comic timing is impeccable. She reminds me of Tina Fey, but with a dose of Goldie Hawn. She's utterly likable even when she's being stubborn, and her humor is genuine. There's something so natural and unforced about her performance. She seems to be having a wonderful time with Rudolph, who projects her own comic radiance while playing the straight gal. Byrne is wonderful too as the spoiled rich thing with a heart of platinum. With Jon Hamm as Annie's insignificant other and the late Jill Clayburgh as her mom. Written by Annie Mumolo and Kristin Wiig.