The movie is laugh out loud funny at times.

Bridesmaids

An Illusion Review by Joan Ellis



            Bridesmaids is laugh out loud funny at times, but the connective tissue is tedious. The movie slows whenever the filmmakers abandon jokes to work on character development which is a lost cause here. This is, after all, Judd Apatow (executive producer), specialist in gross-out crass (Knocked-Up) in tandem with Kristin Wiig of Saturday Night Live. That's enough to tell you the movie works whenever they let their instincts roll with short, punchy jokes but not when they start exploring who these characters are beyond the laughs. Credit the laughs to Kristin Wiig who co-wrote the script with her pal Annie Mumolo and then starred in and directed the film.
            When Lil (Maya Rudolph) asks lifelong best friend Annie (Ms. Wiig) to be her maid of honor, the stage is set for a collision between the bridesmaids and the wedding culture. Trouble is trebled by the presence of bridesmaid Helen (Rose Byrne) whose beauty and money allow her to exercise her natural gifts as a control freak. When Helen steps up eagerly to solve every problem with cash, the strains multiply.
            Annie's life is a mess. The bakery she built failed during the recession. Ted (Josh Hamm), the man who summons her at his convenience for loony sex, is a hollow gourd of a guy. Annie returns to live with mom (sadly, the last film made by the wonderful Jill Clayburgh). She has no home, no job, no committed man. Worse, she must suffer the indignities of the bride's happiness as well as the politics of the bridesmaids. She turns, of course, to antic drinking. There's a whole mine of humor there for skits and sketches, TV style.
            I hesitate to admit this, but after years of thinking of bathroom humor as the product of empty minds, I found myself laughing heartily at a scene in an upscale wedding dress emporium. After gorging on Mexican food at lunch, the b-maids arrive to try on the expensive dresses only to be hit with a massive collective invasion of the stomach bug. The team succeeds in turning a ghastly idea into great slapstick.
            The movie belongs to Kristin Wiig who has great comic timing, an expressive face, and is fearless in what she's willing to do for a laugh. She can write, she can act and she's funny. Watch also for the thoroughly endearing obsessive/compulsive cop who enters her life with a speeding ticket. He is Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd) and you are likely to love him on sight, as I did.
            In spite of the undeniable fun of being part of an audience eager to convulse in laughter, the movie still feels like the women's answer to Animal House and Hangover. It's the "We can do it too!" factor. But go. You'll laugh at Annie's dilemmas, and you'll know that this fair to middling comedy is just the first announcement that Kristin Wiig has arrived on the big screen.

 


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