By Caitlyn Collins | May 13, 2011
Director: Paul Feig
Writers: Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd
I am not married, which means I’ve never had to worry about a wedding of my own (which is just fine by me!). I have, however, been a bridesmaid. More than once. In fact, I’ve been the maid of honor for four weddings. A few days ago, one of my closest friends asked me to be a bridesmaid for her wedding next year. This is all to show that I have some experience with the role, though my own background as a bridesmaid is not quite as comical as Bridesmaids.
Traditionally, being asked to be a member of the wedding party is a lot of responsibility. And can be quite expensive. There are showers to attend; gifts to purchase; clothes, shoes and accessories to procure. Not to mention the bachelorette party. This can be just as debaucherous as a bachelor party. Annie (Kristen Wiig) is painfully aware of all of this when her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announces that she is engaged. Kristen Wiig is incredible with facial expressions and as Annie she is able to convey a full scale of emotion from genuine happiness to slight hysterics. Her ex-boyfriend left her and her bakery folded, so now as a single thirty-something she works in a jewelry store unenthusiastically selling engagement rings with cutting remarks. She’s determined, however, to be as enthusiastic as possible and be the best maid of honor.
Annie arrives at the engagement shower only to discover she very well might be out of her element. Her barely running car baffles the valet as she slowly makes her way into the venue. It’s here where the rest of the bridal party is introduced. Rita, the sexy mother of three and desperate for an adventure. Becca, a ridiculously naïve newlywed. (She reveals they spent their honeymoon at Disneyland). Megan, the sister of Dougie, Lillian’s fiancé, and the adult tomboy. Then there is Helen. She instantly becomes Annie’s nemesis. Helen is falsely sweet and slyly insulting. Not to mention she’s married to a very wealthy man. The contest for the title of Lillian’s best friend ensues when Annie gets up to give her maid of honor speech. Helen, not to be out done, or better yet to make Annie look like a chump, decides to give a speech as well. The two take numerous turns until they finally end with a song, mostly sung together.
The battles between Helen and Annie set up some of the best comedic moments of the film. The ladies all get together for lunch and then dress shopping as organized by Annie. They arrive at a whole-in-the-wall restaurant much to the dismay and skepticism of most of the group. Lillian vouches for Annie’s ability to find great off-beat places. After lunch the group heads to the poshest bridal boutique in the city. Only Annie failed to make an appointment, but lucky for her, Helen is personal friends with the manager. The scenes that follow are by far the crudest and some of the most hysterical, if that is your sense of humor. Or even if you can just let yourself have a few laughs.
During the course of all this Annie meets Officer Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd, whom I adore) after he pulls her over for her defunct taillights. I wasn’t entirely expecting the romantic comedy aspect of this film (I have no idea as it’s a movie about bridesmaids), but of course it was there. It was not, however, the dominate storyline and was much more realistic than many of them out there. I’m of the opinion that romantic comedies are mostly detrimental to women and their ideas of relationships, in the same way I feel about porn and how some men treat women because of it. Annie’s relationship with Rhodes is not overdone, except perhaps the Jake Ryan moment that made everyone in the theatre (and I’ll admit, myself included) swoon just a touch.
The main focus of the film is Annie’s relationship with Lillian and also Annie’s relationship with herself. She hits rock bottom when she calls a teenage customer in search of a “best friends” pendant a cunt. Her creepy roommates ask her to move out which forces her to move back in with her AA-attending, non-alcoholic mother. After Annie finally loses it over Helen’s proposed gift to Lillian at her bridal shower, Lillian relinquishes Annie’s wedding invitation. She’s forced to evaluate her life and how she’s handled herself.
Eventually an irenic spirit captivates both Helen and Annie as they try to locate a missing Lillian on the day of the wedding. The reconciliations begin and everyone lives happily ever after. The end. There are predictable aspects to this film, but it isn’t entirely formulaic. Wiig’s talent as a writer and actress produces numerous uproarious moments. I could easily have written this review from a purely feminist stand point, which I’m still tempted to do. However, in support of female writers and actors, not to mention it’s funny and well produced, I definitely recommend seeing this film.