BRIDESMAIDS (Paul Feig, 2011)
Opens Friday, May 13
First and foremost, don’t link Bridesmaids in with all those lousy Saturday Night Live one-note movies and the string of overrated and overhyped lowbrow trash streaming out of the Judd Apatow factory. And don’t assume it’s a silly chick flick either. As it turns out, Bridesmaids is one of the most consistently funny laugh-out-loud romps of this young century. Directed by Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig, Bridesmaids is an endlessly clever and insightful examination of love, loneliness, and friendship starring SNL’s Kristen Wiig, who cowrote the smart script with Groundlings member Annie Mumolo (who makes a cameo as a nervous flyer). Wiig shows surprising depth and range as Annie, a perennial screw-up whose closest childhood friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), is marrying into a very snooty upper-crust family. After agreeing to be Lillian’s maid of honor, Annie gets involved in a battle of wits with Lillian’s future sister-in-law, the elegant Helen (a radiant Rose Byrne), who is determined to outshine Annie in every way possible and steal Lillian away from her. Already a mess — she had to close her bakery, she shares an apartment with a bizarre pair of British siblings, she works in a jewelry store where she drives away potential customers with her sorry tales of woe, and she allows herself to be treated miserably as a late-night booty call for a self-centered businessman (Jon Lamm) — Annie experiences a series of hysterical, pathetic setbacks as she attempts to organize the bridal shower and bachelorette party, including a riotous potty-humor scene in a high-end boutique that is likely to go down in comedy history for its sheer relentlessness. The rest of the bridesmaids are quite a hoot — Becca (Ellie Kemper), the Disney-loving kewpie doll; Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), a foul-mouthed married mother who can’t wait to go crazy away from her family; and the groom’s burly sister, Megan (the hugely entertaining Melissa McCarthy), who lives life without a filter. Annie is so caught up in her own failures that she doesn’t recognize when something potentially good enters her life, in the form of state trooper Nathan Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd). Wiig gives the finest performance of her career as Annie, clearly a role that is very close to her heart. Despite the slapstick nature of many of the jokes, Bridesmaids is filled with heart and soul, making it one of the best comedies in years.