Monday, June 20, 2011

My review of BRIDESMAIDS

BRIDESMAIDS is a chick flick for guys. It’s also the funniest comedy I’ve seen this year.

What a refreshing change from the usual studio comic fare we’ve been fed lately – slothy immature dudes and the hot brain dead babes that inexplicably fall in love with them.

Many have claimed that BRIDESMAIDS is just the woman’s version of THE HANGOVER. I’d agree to some extent but not completely. For all its raunchiness (and BRIDESMAIDS has no shortage of it – although I thought Maya Rudolph taking a shit in the street was handled as artfully as that delightful moment could), at the heart of this movie is a story about real women and the real problems they face. THE HANGOVER was just a romp. BRIDESMAIDS has defecation and depth!

The issues that guys are wrestling with in Hollywood rom coms these days are “will I get laid?”, “will I get my man cave?”, and the universal: “why am I waking up in urine?” The women in BRIDESMAIDS are dealing with aging, competition (among themselves and in the marketplace), self-esteem, relationships, status, and FAA regulations.

Written by Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo and directed by Paul Feig, the movie dares to underplay the comedy, get laughs out of genuine character reactions, and not be afraid to stop along the way for a sincere moment or two of emotion. Because of that, when there are big crazy block comedy scenes they land and really stand out. Kristen Wiig, wigging out at a party had me rolling in the aisle (even though I was sitting in the middle).

Kristen Wiig is SNL’s next Tina Fey.

And Melissa McCarthy is the next Zach Galifianakis. She completely steals this movie. Who knew she was that hilarious? I certainly didn’t based on watching her on MIKE & MOLLY. What a difference playing a real character with a real attitude and not just firing off a steady barrage of standard sitcom one-liners.

Standout performances: Jon Hamm is a wonderful asshole. (Wouldn’t you love to see that quote on a movie ad? “Jon Hamm is a wonderful asshole” – Ken Levine, N.Y. Times.) Rose Bryne manages to wring sympathy and laughs out of the thankless mean girl/rival role. And I couldn’t help feeling a pang of sadness every time the late Jill Clayburgh appeared on the screen (in a hilarious turn as Wiig’s nutsy mother).

BRIDESMAIDS is worth seeing, guys. Don’t worry. This isn’t SEX AND THE CITY. This isn’t one of those Julia Roberts/Diane Lane/Cameron Diaz goes to Italy and finds herself snoozefests. This is a date movie you will not only tolerate but even like. And some of you may even come away with a better understanding of just what women go through. Okay, well… you’ll find it funny.

45 comments:

Carlos M Hernandez said...

I've failed at getting other men to watch this film, so maybe your review can get them to finally realize that this film is for them.

Hilarious movie that should have done bigger numbers if only men saw past the cast and setting.

Sally creeping down the alley said...

We saw two completely different movies. I saw Bridesmaids and thought is was just an "okay" movie. It had its moments, but was just not something I've seen before (albeit with females in all the male roles).

If this is what passes for great comedy, I'll stay home and save my $50 and spare myself the aggravation of listening to a theater full of loud, obnoxious people laughing at what's not funny just sad.

Give me Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris anyday.

Paul Duca said...

It takes someone like Ken Levine to explain things like this. I don't have any particular distaste for romantic comedy, but I do despise flicks like I LOVE YOU, MAN and THE HANGOVERs because I don't like being told that as a male, my ideal involves being a doltish, drunken, sex-crazed lout more emotionally attached to his fellow louts than to the woman we are told is crazy hot for him.

And frankly, I've appreciated Melissa McCarthy all the way back to GILMORE GIRLS.

Matt said...

TINY SPOILER: I don't think I liked it as much as Ken, but when Wendi Mclendon-Covey dropped her line of "Yesterday, I literally cracked a blanket in half" I actually did have tears of laughter streaming down my face.

Sarah said...

Re: Melissa McCarthy - I keep on reading about how shocked people are by her performance, and while I am glad she is finally getting recognition, I just think: Where was this support when she was on Gilmore Girls for 7 seasons? No, it was not the same character or the same kind of humor, but she was still delightfully charming and funny.

benson said...

The movie ad quote I want to see is "BRIDESMAIDS has defecation and depth!-Ken Levine, NY Times)

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

Paul Feig certainly has the credentials with The Office, amongst other projects. Most likely, I'll check out this film.

Tom Quigley said...

Have to brag: Kristen Wiig is a native of Brighton, NY, the town in which I currently reside, which is a suburb of Rochester. Regardless of that connection, I think she may be the most talented comic actress to join the SNL cast in the last decade.

Tom Quigley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I guess I have gotten old somewhere along the way, but I do not find Kristen Wiig funny at all. Granted I haven't seen this movie (and to be honest, I probably won't) but the characters she does on SLN are creepy, not funny.

Pam aka SisterZip

jbryant said...

Carlos: BRIDESMAIDS seems to be on track to make around $150 million domestic, so it may be that guys are showing up, too. Either way, the studio's probably not complaining.

Sister Zip: I don't care for most of Wiig's SNL characters either, but she is stunningly good in this movie. If not for the Academy's general unwillingness to nominate comic performances, she'd be a shoo-in for a nod.

droszel said...

Agree with Ken on this one. It is a delightful, thoughtful film. Saw it with my daughter and wife and we all laughed out loud

Debby G said...

I loved it too. I agree it was hilarious and deep. And it's great to see a rom-com where the actresses have priorities (female friendships, career)other than nabbing a guy.

Please, please, please let this be the movie that finally tells Hollywood execs that female-driven films can do well at the box office, and that many women prefer raunchy laughs over predictable, mildly amusing at best Kate Hudson/Jennifer Aniston rom-coms or treacly Nicolas Sparks soaps.

Curly Maple Surprise said...

Bridesmaids wasn't just hilarious, it was a game changer for women in movies...but somehow, the studios are still missing the point:

http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/5rb1

Adam said...

I thought this movie was hilarious and Krisitin Wiig was awesome in it. However, I know people keep saying it is but this is definitely NOT for guys. It's funny but a definite chick flick and better than 95% of all chick flicks out there. I thought it dragged on a little bit because a lot of the movie is them sulking about their problems.


Also, Jon Hamm was amazing. These outtakes are ridiculously funny.

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/0dbe4274f6/bridesmaids-outtakes

danrydell said...

Thought it was hilarious, and just a good cast.

Midnight in Paris was a nice movie, well done, but it's so wispy, it's barely there.

Michael Zand said...

Given the huge success of the movie, I guess I'm the minority, but I thought Bridesmaid was just a so-so movie with two or three hilarious set pieces. Otherwise, the movie, like Kristen Wigg's character, just mopes along. The main problem is Wiig. She's not that interesting an actress. She's funny when she's "flat out" (and even on SNL she pushes too much sometimes) otherwise her default acting persona is monotone, hangdog and low energy. The other women were all great, I just wish they'd had more consistently funny material. I'm pulling for more comedies featuring women because there's so much potential for laughs there. I hope this opens the door for more films like this.

Michael Zand said...

An addendum. I thought Leslie Mann would have been much funnier and more moving in Wiig's part. But the problem with that would be that she'd throw off the balance of the film because she's so pretty and it would be hard to believe that Maya Rudolph is the one lucky in love and not her.

Sanford said...

Movie was hilarious, but could have been about 30 minutes shorter. Also, the Irish Wisconsin State Trooper subplot made zero sense and was never explained.

But the big scenes were comedy gold.

Michael Zand said...

And speaking of funny..(I know once you get me going You can't shut me up) Chris O'Dowd, who played Wiig's love interest was in "The IT Crowd" (IT as in information technology) a hilarious sitcom from England. He's a terrific actor and a lot funnier than his role allowed in Bridesmaids. The show has two other standout comic performances from Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson as fellow losers trapped in the bowels of a soulless corporation. If you want huge laughs check out the series(the original British one not the pale US imitation) on Netflix.

Mike Schryver said...

I doubt I'll ever see any movie where defecating in the street occurs, but it's good to see Melissa McCarthy getting some props. As has been said, she was hilarious for 7 years on Gilmore Girls.
And I'm a huge fan of Paul Feig, going all the way back to It's Garry Shandling's Show.

Sebastian said...

The Fey/Wiig comparison is a bit weird since Tina Fey came from SNL and created a show that is about an SNL-style TV Show.

So I'd say Tina Fey is the Tina Fey of SNL.

And Wiig is from SNL as well :-)

Mac said...

I like Kirsten Wiig and this film looks like an attempt to do something more ambitious than the usual rom-com-hell.
I don't mind defecation as long as it's not wall-to-wall, literally or otherwise. Seems like there's a brain and a heart in there, so I'll give it a go.

kingvermin said...

I was one of the few guys in the audience of the showing I went to with the wife. I laughed all the way through. The wife & I both walked out of Hangover; that was a dumb one. This was miles above that particular outing with a lot of great lines from everyone.

Nat G. said...

Even though I have a rule to fast-forward through any SNL sketch centered on a Wiig character, it's because I don't like the material - she herself is clearly talented, and demonstrates that here, and in her roles is Magruber and Knocked Up.

If anyone asks you which actress wrote Bridesmaids, the answer is clear: "the one whom the script requires Jon Hamm to make out with repeatedly." (Similarly, A Fish Called Wanda is written by "the one whom the script required that Jamie Lee Curtis get her breasties nuzzled by.")

As for grossout, there isn't really that much of it beyond the one scene... a scene that producer Judd Apatow pressed into the film (and before any complaints... the result is a comedy that'll do $150 million. It may not be perfect, but its hard to say it would've done better without that touch.)

cityslkrz said...

agree! I was just talking about this film with a friend yesterday and we thought pretty much the same thing. What a pleasant surprise to get a really funny, and thought provoking movie. wasn't expecting it, although I love Kristin Wiig in everything on SNL, and also love Maya Rudolph.

the same chris said...

Kristen Wiig is hilarious! If any of you haven't seen the highly underrated 'MacGruber', watch it, she is genius in that! I can only say: 'No Tip! Take it back!' (I was in pain from laughing at that scene for minutes)

Johnny Walker said...

Damn, I'm really looking forward to his now. The ways women are portrayed in modern comedies is very disheartening, but this sounds like it does far more than just rectify that. Fingers crossed!

xjill said...

I liked it but the tone was too uneven for me. There were too many patches of serious things between the crazy funny bits. Wiig's character was just having too many legit Serious Issues for me to find the humor.

During the bridal shower scene flip out all I felt was uncomfortable because it's her best friend and all I could feel was horrified for Maya's character.

If anything it's a testament to Wiig but the dramatic sections were too dramatic, if that makes sense.

cshel said...

I love Kristen Wiig, I loved Bridesmaids, I loved the cop, I loved the scene where she kept driving by to get his attention, John Hamm was great, everyone was good, everyone should go see it, even the one gross scene is hilarious.

I also enjoyed Midnight In Paris and Hangover II. There can never be enough good comedies of all types, and usually there aren't this many out there to see at one time.

I'm looking forward to seeing Bad Teacher, Horrible Bosses, and Crazy, Stupid Love. I hope they're good, too.

Steve Cat said...

I walked out in the middle, not because it wasn't funny, but because it was the same as the Focker movies. I hate seeing an innocent being made fun of and humiliated. The rich and powerful are supposed to be the butt of the jokes, not the poor best friend. To me if the women had gotten sick at a restaurant of the rich friend's choosing then I would have hung around.

Carlos M Hernandez said...

"To me if the women had gotten sick at a restaurant of the rich friend's choosing then I would have hung around."

I get it, but that wouldn't have made any sense in this film.

Allison Williams said...

I really liked this movie, and it was totally not what I was expecting from the trailer.

Ken - a Friday question - can you talk about how trailers set up the wrong expectations? I thought BRIDESMAIDS was actually a pretty moving, thoughtful movie about getting older, changing friendships, and class issues (a lot of Kristin Wiig's characters problems are her being a poor girl trying to compete with a rich girl). But based on the trailer? I thought it was going to be THE HANGOVER with Chicks. I thought most of the movie would take place in Vegas, for crying out loud (I won't spoil it, but *you know*).

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

I avoided this movie because the food poisoning scene I heard so much about. I hate that nausea inducing stuff--it's cheap humor and refuse to go see a movie that resorts to it. But I have a lot of girlfriends who did see it because they wanted to support a female centric film, and almost all of them really disliked it. Some didn't mind the above scene, others did, but all of them hated another movie with women being awful to other women, or just generally behaving like idiots. There's a lot of comedy to be mined in womens relationships, and I'm not saying women don't behave badly, but the general opinion I heard was that the movie would have been if it had been Wigg & her partners original vision, before it got Appatow'd.

Naz said...

I'll wait for when it comes on HBO.

selection7 said...

Also a no go for me on the bathroom humor. I may miss some good gags here and there by having litmus test standards like that, but there's no shortage of other movies or entertainment out there so it's no biggee to be selective.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Man, I've never noticed until now, but Kristin Wiig's got nice legs.

VP81955 said...

Please, please, please let this be the movie that finally tells Hollywood execs that female-driven films can do well at the box office, and that many women prefer raunchy laughs over predictable, mildly amusing at best Kate Hudson/Jennifer Aniston rom-coms or treacly Nicolas Sparks soaps.

How about an intelligent, sophisticated romantic comedy without raunch, or predictability, or treacle? Once upon a time, Hollywood used to be able to make such films -- but of course, that was a time when just about everybody went to the movies, not just adolescents and the sophomoric (and sophomoric-at-heart). Check out Turner Classic Movies for proof.

jbryant said...

I don't get the big deal over the "gross-out" scene. It's not that explicit. Your worst fears are probably not realized. Plus, it's food poisoning -- a very human thing, requiring no idiocy on the part of any of the women.

In fact, compared to THE HANGOVER and other such guy comedies, there's really not that much idiotic behavior on display. Wiig's life is falling apart, so she makes some bad choices, but she's no idiot. Oddly, it sounds like some of you would've actually preferred her to be a sheer moron to save you the pain of identifying with her. Well, maybe that's not so odd -- I realize some folks are simply too sensitive to tolerate the comedy of embarrassment, and so must be quite chagrined at the post-Gervais increase in that style.

The movie does feel a bit long, but I'm sure that because Feig encouraged improv and had a hard time cutting some of it, even if it wasn't germane to the story. But I'd rather have a good overstuffed movie than a lean, mean dud.

selection7 said...

Keep in mind, JBryant, I specifically said it wasn't a big deal to be selective. I can't speak for others. If it was a big deal, I might think twice about qualifying the nature of the gross outs (now there's a sentence a never thought I'd write,lol), but at this point I've been around long enough to know what I don't wish to see more of in my cinema. So it's just a straightforward approach to paring choices down.

Not long ago Ken alerted us to another one starring Jason Bateman/Ryan Reynolds of which his trailer review was the potential to be "the most vile unfunny movie of 2011". It's the filmaker's prerogative, and I'd be surprised if people like me have much effect on the industry, so I'm not trying to start a movement here. ...just speaking freely about a pet peeve.

Leslie B. said...

I loved the movie. I'm a big fan of Melissa McCarthy. There was a scene in Gilmore Girls where she tries to explain how the back of her coat got cut. It makes me laugh every time I see it.

Maybe I missed it, but was there no tribute to Jill Clayburgh in the credits? That seems odd to me.

Exl Blogger said...

How were we supposed to know it was supposed to be a comedy? We sure couldn't tell by watching it. (We've actually seen comedies. They usually have humor.) It seemed to be a rather weak late-60s, early-70s sad sack weirdo movie playing for pathos, and not one of the good ones. Granted, neither of us, one male, one female, was ever a big fan of the pathos genre, so we gave up about a half an hour in. It seemed like a lot longer.

If we had known it was supposed to have been a comedy and had defecation, maybe we would have given it more of a chance and stayed longer.

As the Romans used to say, de omnibus non est disputandum. That's don't get into an argument with the bus driver.

jbryant said...

Gee, I hate it when a movie of the "pathos genre" fools me into thinking it's a comedy. I sit there laughing like an idiot, until someone of superior perception kindly sets me straight. Oddly, at the screening of BRIDESMAIDS I attended, the majority of the audience seemed to share my delusion. Mass hallucination, I suppose.

Jonah Davenport said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Went in expecting a sappy "chickflick", but was pleasantly surprised. I thought Kristen Wiig did an excellent job portraying somebody desperately searching for a way out of her aimless/dehumanizing existence.

The only part I didn't like was the "gift wrapped" ending. They never explained how/why the Irish cop had the sudden change of heart towards Kristen's character.

I thought a "Notting Hill" ending would have been more appropriate. she could have shown up at his precinct and won him back with a
"I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her," speech. It would have been way more heart warming.

stephanie rosenfeld said...

I want to meet all you guys. In real life, trying to have a conversation with men (ones who don't follow the film business) about how women should be allowed to join the game, present their realities (or movie versions of it) on screen, fail or not be held to impossible standards in genres where dumb movies abound, etc., usually either gets you dismissed or actively hated on. But there are lots of thoughtful comments here and I'm glad guys are seeing the movie.