‘Bridesmaids’ exceeds expectations

| May 18, 2011

BridesmaidsI remember seeing the trailer for “Bridesmaids” and thinking, oh look, they made a female version of “The Hangover.” Surely it would be worth wasting an hour or two of my life on, right?

Right I was, as I’m happy to report the film exceeded my expectations. All the promised crude humor and self-depreciation gets delivered in spades by Kristen Wiig and friends. Beyond that, it is a well-executed redemption story/romantic comedy.

You may have surmised the plot from the trailer: Annie’s (Wiig) best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), is getting married. It seems that Lillian’s life is moving into the next chapter, while Annie’s is stalling with one failure after another. Annie’s inner-turmoil spirals out of control when Helen (Rose Byrne), Lillian’s new best friend, begins competing with her to be Lillian’s maid of honor. And what a villain Helen turns out to be. I challenge you not to despise her character.

There’s also a love triangle of sorts with Chris O’Dowd (of “IT Crowd” fame) and Jon Hamm (you’ve heard of him, right?). Both of them are brilliant in this, especially Hamm, who delights at poking fun of his handsome image.

Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig’s script is sharp and witty. It’s a bit derivative, but it plays to Wiig’s comedic strengths.

My only criticism is that I wanted more from the tertiary characters. So many of my favorite people are in this film, some for less than a line or two. Tim Heidecker, for example, plays Lillian’s groom. He added nothing to the film but a familiar face instead of a hilarious scene. Matt Lucas (from “Little Britain”) plays Wiig’s strange, sister-obsessed roommate, stealing every scene he’s in, however brief.

I also wanted more interaction from Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and Becca (Ellie Kemper) as they build up a fun plot but leave the threads dangling. Leaving me wanting more might be a good problem. Maybe they’ll make a sequel. “The Hangover” is giving it a shot.

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Shawn is a web designer and graphic artist living in Louisville, Kentucky. Visit his website at http://shawncoots.com/

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