Making its Home Box Office debut this weekend was last year’s smash comedy, “Bridesmaids”.
Starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids” was a runaway box office success, grossing $288 million worldwide. It is currently the top grossing film produced by Judd Apatow, and that’s some impressive company. The movie was also critically well received. It got nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress – Melissa McCarthy), and made a number of year end top ten lists, including the American Film Institute’s, Entertainment Weekly’s, and The (title pending) Movie Podcast’s (Tanski’s #2).
The question then becomes – is it all of that?
“Bridesmaids” tells the tale of Annie Walker (Kristen Wiig), and what happens when she’s asked to be maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding. It would be a stressful time for anyone, but Annie is going through a difficult period in her life. Her bakery business has recently failed, and her long term relationship has ended. She’s currently involved in a fling that is nothing more than a casual sexual relationship. During the planning of the wedding, she finds herself getting jealous that her friend (Mya Rudolph) is connecting so strongly with her fiancés boss’ wife. A game of oneupmanship ensues that turns into a comedy of errors as the two women compete for influence over the wedding and the bride to be.
Also in the wedding party is Megan (Melissa McCarthy), an overweight, sex-starved, mildly insane woman who blows through the movie like a hurricane… sexually propositioning men, handing out suspect advice and generally acting insane.
The events surrounding the wedding begin to drive Annie crazy. She questions herself and her friendship with the bride, until she finally winds up having a bit of a breakdown and completely embarrassing herself.
Wiig is awesome here as the insecure, unstable Annie. She’s very expressive, and goes through a huge range of emotions… envy, anxiety, vulnerability, anger… and throughout it all, she’s hysterical. She also co-wrote the screenplay and received an Academy Award nomination for her efforts. Melissa McCarthy may have stolen the show, however. She puts on tour de force performance, it’s impossible not to give her her due. Her contribution to the food poisoning aftermath scene pushes it over the top, and the scene where she blockades the airplane doorway with her leg is well on it’s way to being enshrined in pop culture history.
Which, ironically, may be working against the movie at this point. I’ve seen and heard quite a few people complaining about the hype, and being “let down” by the movie when they finally saw it. I myself went through some “Bridesmaids” burnout during the Oscars.
All of that shouldn’t be held against the movie itself, however. “Bridesmaids” is a first-rate comedy. It may have gotten blown a little out of proportion, but it is still a unique film in that it’s a raunchy, crass comedy with an all female cast. At least that’s the short version. The full story is that it’s a smart comedy, with plenty of heart and genuine emotion. It certainly deserves to be highly acclaimed.