Producer Judd Apatow presents Bridesmaids in his typical raunchy yet heart-felt comedic style though this time it’s for the ladies. Saturday Night Live cast members Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph star as life-long BFFs Annie and Lillian. Lillian chooses Annie as the maid of honor at her upcoming nuptials, but the bumbling single lady gets continuously outdone by Lillian’s soon-to-be sister-in-law, the wealthy and conniving Helen (Rose Byrne). While the girls’ rivalry and a developing romance between Annie and a charming police officer (The IT Crowd‘s Chris Dowd) are the main plot threads, comedic misadventures with often disgusting results are to be had whenever the bridal party, which includes Reno 911’s Wendi McLendon-Covey, The Office‘s Ellie Kemper, and guaranteed crowd-pleaser Melissa McCarthy, assemble as a group. These undefined additional characters are really only there to pad out the situational comedy and deliver the occasional one-liner, though McCarthy does succeed in transcending the stereotypical character traits of an unmannered, overweight woman. Troubles come and go and everyone probably ends up happy in the end.
Everyone is calling this “The Hangover for girls”, which isn’t an inaccurate description though Bridesmaids lacks the drive and creativity of its predecessor. It plods along in typical screenplay 101 fashion alternating between “comedic” scenes (such as a furious tennis match set to “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”) and scenes of reflection in which Annie struggles to maintain a calm demeanor in the face of societal annoyances. The cast is padded out by some inspired choices that include Little Britain‘s Matt Lucas, Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm, and Philadelphia’s own Tim Heidecker of Tim & Eric fame, the latter of which probably would have faced some flack for “selling out” if he had been granted more than a few moments of silent screen time. 90’s nostalgia is in full effect with an appearance/performance by Wilson Philips that leads to the predictable celebratory dance number that is only slightly less annoying than the “Push It” performance featured in last week’s Something Borrowed. Bridesmaids definitely contains a few big laughs, but as it explores social conventions it succumbs to those of the cinema.
Bridesmaids opens wide in Philly-area theaters today.