Film Review: Bridesmaids
May 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
Another summer movie season is upon us, which means a great many surprises and disappointments await the theater-going public over the next four months. We’ll see giant robots, superheroes, and randy, drunken partiers by the bucketful until we beg for the smaller indie-fare of the fall and winter season. In that final category falls the latest Judd Apatow effort: Bridesmaids. Co-written by current Saturday Night Live cast member Kristen Wiig and directed by well-known comedic director Paul Feig, the film nonetheless carries the signature Apatow mark of a raunchy but heartfelt film that leaves its viewers with their sides split and hearts warmed from the combined efforts of all involved.
Bridesmaids is the story of Annie (Wiig), a woman who’s reached her unfabulous 30s and is sharing an apartment with a creepy, British brother and sister pair, finds herself on call as a recreational sexual partner for a man who likes to conclude their activities by lovingly telling her to get lost, and her dream of opening a bakery crushed by the country’s recession. The only person who seems to get her is her girlhood best friend, Lillian. Unfortunately, Lillian just got engaged and asks Annie to be her maid-of-honor and assist in planning the wedding. After unveiling the rest of the bridesmaids-to-be, Annie makes the acquaintance of Helen, Lillian’s new, rich friend who makes it clear that she is out to be the top dog of this wedding. Hilarity ensues as poor Annie moves closer and closer to her breaking point as Helen attempts to outdo her at every turn as Lillian’s big day moves closer. Throw in one charming, Irish policeman to warm Annie’s cold love life and the recipe is set for comedy gold!
Much of the focus on Bridesmaids has been on whether or not a comedy of this type can work. Weddings, and the chaotic lives of the women involved, have been the subject of romantic comedies since film began, but never has it been the subject of a raunchy, R-rated comedy. That territory is generally considered to be a “boys only” club, dominated by such buddy films as Superbad, Wedding Crashers, and The Hangover. Wiig and Apatow’s latest effort is seeking to elbow its way past the stereotypical viewpoint that women can’t be funny and prove that they in fact can.
However, such an argument is, in my opinion, a stupid one to be having in this day and age. Women have long proven that they can carry their own weight in comedies, and be just as funny, awkward, and neurotic as their male counterparts. The real focus of attention should be whether or not Bridesmaids is going to redefine the so-called “chick flick” genre? And in this reviewer’s opinion, it certainly seems likely too. Many of the characters in the film have their correspondents in buddy film tropes, but they are legitimately funny in their own right. They don’t need to be compared to their male peers, because they’re able to hold their own as a characters. They face problems not unlike those faced in male comedies, but in their own, unique, feminine way. And you know what? It works for them, and the viewer should have no problem laughing uproariously, even if they do have a Y-chromosome. Not only that, but the themes that the film is built upon, namely, that the people in our lives move in and out but we will always have someone there when we need them, are something that both genders can identify with. My recommendation is to ignore the sexist-baiting and go see this incredibly heartfelt, though raunchy, comedy.
Steffen Kellen is a Junior literature major at Ave Maria University