Monday, July 18, 2011

3 paragraphs on Bridesmaids

2011, Paul Feig -- cinema

A lot has been made about the fact that Bridesmaids is largely comprised of an all-female cast, that it features - much like its Apatow-produced brethren - a fair amount of improvisation, and that it is, holy crap, funny. Not just funny. Hilarious. That it's co-written and starring Saturday Night Live's Kristen Wiig, whose SNL skits frequently border on the side of grating/annoying, isn't actually all that big of a surprise given her winning cameo/supporting performances in plenty of other Hollywood fare. She's capable of being subdued and relatable - an everywoman, if you will - without annoying voices or tirelessly repetitive gags.

Much has been made of Melissa McCarthy's breakout comedic performance, and she's (no pun intended, honest) larger-than-life to be sure, but Wiig is the actual breakout star, as she proves adept at being both the straight man and gag winner and carrying, rather effortlessly, a 2hr comedy feature. Of course she is surrounded by some great comedic talent, even if some, like Tim Heidecker and Maya Rudolph aren't really given much opportunity to show off. Though the women of the film are the spotlight, professional handsome boy Jon Hamm has a hilarious unbilled performance as Wiig's fuck buddy, and the IT Crowd's Chris O'Dowd has a fantastic role as Wiig's love interest.

The film works in many genres of comedy, from juvenile gross-out humour, to slapstick, romantic comedy, buddy comedy, absurdity, wordplay, sight gags, even a little vaudeville (in Wiig's "walk the line" routine), but all of it is in service of her character's emotional journey as she tries to reclaim her life after a failed business, failed marriage and a friendship that seems like it's slipping away from her. There's a heart at the core of all the hilarity, and there's never a moment where it feels lost. The Apatow-fed revival of the R-rated comedy thanks to 40-Year-Old Virgin has been a solid one, but this ranks easily among the best of this new generation.