Friday, May 20, 2011
Bridesmaids (Release Date: 5-13-2011)
Alright, got 'em? OK, now how many of those movies star women? How many even have woman in a central, comedic role? How often is that women Jane Lynch? Now, before I start losing people by being labeling myself a sexist pig, I ought to clarify that this doesn't make women not funny, not by a long shot. The fact that women have gotten a rough shake as far as funny flicks has more to do with (in my opinion) an industry that is dominated by men, and (much more importantly) the fact that there aren't enough women out their writing comedies. As if it isn't difficult enough to navigate the laughing landscape, women, more often than not, have to do it with a voice that simply doesn't sound like them. Thank god for Kristen Wiig, the long time Saturday Night Live standout who serves as both scribe and star in the new movie Bridesmaids, all in hopes of righting the ship of female funnies.
Annie (Wiig) is going through a rough patch. She lives in a dinky apartment with Two of the world's strangest roommates, has a love-life that begins and ends with a bummer of a bed fellow (John Hamm) who's not the least bit interested in commitment, and she just watched the bakery that she opened up, her dream job, go down due to money problems. Into such a harsh climate enters the news that Annie's longtime best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) has just gotten engaged. In addition to planning the pre-wedding festivities, Annie is also thrust into Lillian's social circle, which includes a variety of characters, but none so offensive to the bride's bestie than Helen (Rose Byrne), a beautiful and nauseatingly high-class woman whose laugh might as well be made out of fairy dust. And so, the battle for Lillian's affections begins.
Much of Bridesmaids advertising campaign has been focused on the involvement of Producer Judd Apatow, relating the movie to his particular comedic sensibilities (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad), which is something of a strange likening. While Bridesmaids suffers no shortage of sex jokes and gross-out mania, it's certainly not as far over on that end as people usually associate Apatow as being. It also boasts of an inverse likeness to his other efforts: Where some of his other films have been accused of having shallow and underdeveloped female characters, Bridesmaids doesn't seem to think much of the male gender. The whole film contains only Two men with any more than, say, Ten lines, even making sure that the actual groom in question (Tim Heidecker) only appears in Two scenes, uttering a quantity of words that could be counted on one's fingers. And that's just fine: It's their turn by now, isn't it?
The fact is, Bridesmaids hardly needs any testosterone: It's pretty damn funny as is. Weighing in right around Two hours, Bridesmaids is far longer than any movie of its type should ever be, and it's a testament to the laugh-a-minute type fun being had here that one never really feels the need to check their watch. Every actor in the supporting cast brings their A-game, but I suppose it's easier to do when you're dealing with a script as funny as this one. Wiig and co-writer Annie Mumolo have squeezed comedic gold out of a topic that the movies had seemingly wrung dry of creative potential (Weddings), writing vivid characters and placing them in one hilarious situation after another. But the true star here is Wiig, absolutely knocking her first starring role out of the park, coaxing one laugh after another without ever breaking character, and looking damn good while she does it. It seems pretty impossible for a women to make it in Hollywood as just a comedy star, as I can't name a single female who can presently make such a claim (think about that), but if anyone stands a chance, it's Wiig. Bridesmaids is hands down the funniest movie that 2011 has yet to offer, and it makes a brilliant case for more Hollywood comedies to star women who sound like women. I'm not sure if I'm calling it progressive, or an important step, or anything like that. All I know for sure is that you should see it.