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Saturday, May 21, 2011


Is it the best comedy of the year? Probably not; nor is it the funniest. But it provides more than enough laugh-out-loud moments, heart, and entertainment to be worthwhile.

Every year there is one comedy that stands out amongst all others. In terms of true outstanding filmmaking, films like Little Miss Sunshine and Juno stand out. In terms of downright hilarity, it’s safe to say that 2009’s The Hangover is amongst the few films that pretty much set the standard for comedy gold. When Bridesmaids hit theatres, some thought that it may as well have a chance to stand amongst those worthy few.

The film follows the story of Annie, played by Kristen Wiig, who is chosen by her long time best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) to be the Maid of Honor after she becomes engaged. But Annie is not alone; along with her are chosen four other bridesmaids whom Annie must learn to work with and get along with in order to make Lillian’s wedding a success. Although all six of them have drastically different personalities, Annie doesn’t have trouble getting along with all but one; Helen Harris. Played by Rose Byrne, Helen is Lillian’s other best friend, who has the better car, the better clothes, the most money, and the most success. And because Annie is in the middle of being dumped by her boyfriend, having to shut down her bakery, and in financial troubles, it becomes all the more difficult to prove herself to those around her when taking care of Lillian’s wedding proves to become more challenging than she originally expected.

It’s usually a good thing when your two main actors are Saturday Night Live alumni; in a way, this movie is no exception. I don’t really think anybody denies that Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph (particularly Kristen Wiig) are comedic gems. However, what you can’t deny is that in this film both Wiig and Rudolph play themselves, which at many times isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many of the funniest parts in the entire film are due to how well these actresses are able to ignite hilarity by simply being themselves.

Yet, the fact that these two actresses insist on playing characters that we have seen every time we turn on SNL can sometimes be a turn off. At times you feel like you are simply watching another skit for their show, which comes off as if though they don’t want to get out of their comfort zones. And many of these moments simply don’t fit in a movie. When you walk into a movie theatre and spend ten dollars on a ticket what you expect is to see a movie, not a series of skits; which, unfortunately, is what many parts of this movie feel like.

However, it is not difficult to forgive this given how outright hysterical the film proves to be. The humor seems fresh, new, and daring. It never seems borrowed, and isn’t afraid to just keep getting blasted at the audience restlessly. The credit can be given to Kristen Wiig (who in addition wrote the film) and the rest of the supporting cast.

But then again, it was expected from Wiig to be funny; after all, she is a comedian and she is part of Saturday Night Live. What really surprised me is how excellent her acting is. She actually manages to give her character emotion and dimension, regardless of whether she plays herself.

The same can be said for Rose Byrne, who gives you the perfect antagonist that everyone loves to hate, but can also show a true and believable side. Her character is one that isn’t overdone by her performance, which is something to appreciate, and yet Byrne can easily give her just enough edge to keep the performance interesting. The true surprise performance comes from Melissa McCarthy, who plays Megan, the overweight, tough, but well meaning sister of Lillian’s fiancĂ©. McCarthy can give some of the funniest moments in the film; she plays her character with perfection, although it isn’t until the last third of the film that you get to truly appreciate the performance.

Ultimately, what makes Bridesmaids memorable is its stellar cast. And although it runs perhaps twenty minutes too long, it succeeds at captivating the audience from start to finish. Is it the best comedy of the year? Probably not; nor is it the funniest. But it provides more than enough laugh-out-loud moments, heart, and entertainment to be worthwhile.