June 14, 2011 3 Comments
Anna is a single woman reduced to working as a sales clerk when her cake shop goes under. A “bootie” awaiting Ted’s (John Hamm) every beck and call, Anna is called upon by best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) to be her Maid of Honour. Quickly batting horns with Helen (Rose Byrne), a relatively new addition to Lillian’s social circle, Anna is soon fighting to hold on to her title, completely despite the negative impact it is having on the rest of her life. Even as doting cop Nathan Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd) enters the fray it appears that things are going to have to get worse before they will get better.
Bridesmaids, the latest film off of the Judd Apatow production line, takes the well-worn formula, gives it a pair of breasts and swaps space-cakes for cup cakes in Paul Feig’s (Sabrina the Teenage Witch‘s Mr. Eugene Pool) biggest film to date. Kristen Wiig’s Annie is another aimless (wo)manchild, cut from the same cloth as the rest of Apatow’s protagonists, who suffers excruciating interaction after excruciating interaction as she watches her life circle the drain. Backed up by the control freak, the prude and the inappropriate overweight friend, can Bridesmaids offer anything we haven’t already seen before? Or is it just a Hangover (see what I did there?) from other buddy comedy that ticks boxes with as much predictability as it drops farts.
Yes and no is the honest answer, as Bridesmaids crosses the half way line – shedding many of its characters and subplots as it goes. While there will be those who claim that dropping a Y chromosome constitutes great originality, and it somehow bafflingly needed proven that women can be funny too, Apatow and co.’s foray across the gender line really isn’t enough to distinguish a movie from those that came before. While undoubtedly funny at times – a food-poisoning sequence in particular had me gasping for breath – too much of the alleged humour is derived from characters mumbling nothing in particular, a technique which is more groansome, if anything, than funny.
Bridesmaids‘ biggest misstep, however, is in the mistreatment of its ensemble. Uniting a group of disparate women as the titular bridesmaids, the film unceremoniously drops two of its six at the midway point, all the better to focus on its other remaining stereotypes. Skipping over a number of the obvious set pieces in favour of anti-climactic awkward-fests (a potentially boisterous hen-party is dropped in favour of a hugely overdrawn airborne mishap), Bridesmaids wastes too much time on pointless and unfunny subplots (Matt Lucas anyone?) and repetitive conflicts to make much of an impact beyond the odd successful gag.
At times funny, at times excruciating, Bridesmaids is a functional comedy with some interesting moments and surprisingly tender interactions. For the most part, however, it is a sloppy and uneven, identikit comedy which isn’t quite sure which movie it wants to sex-change first. That said, Bridesmaids nevertheless stands head and shoulders (or Herbal Essences. Or maybe Aussie) above Apatow’s output to date.