Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bridesmaids (2011) - 3/5

I'll be the first to admit: I'm very picky with my comedy. Great comedies are rare and succeed usually due to the alignment of three things - a funny script, an able cast, and a director with timing. These three things seem to rarely come together in the perfect ways, but from the highly regarded way that "Bridesmaids" was receiving praise I felt I was obliged to see if this was going to be the surprise that "The Hangover" was in how it was crafted. It's not. My disappoint in the film wakes not because it is missing one of these three items like so many films do, but because it rarely seems to get them out of the "vulgar with a gold heart" arena that has become so common place since Kevin Smith began to make it an art-form.

Annie (Wiig) has just discovered that her long time friend Lillie (Rudolph) has become engaged. Not only this, but she will be the maid of honor and have to begin planning a slew of wedding events for her long time friend. This, coupled with her slowly sinking life of being broke, alone, and having no ambitions, may just lead Annie into a full on competition with another bridesmaid (Byrne) for redemption.

I heard it repeatedly. How hilarious "Bridesmaids" was. How vulgar it was. How unique it was. On surface levels this is true. It is rather intriguing to have a comedy where the women in the film are the vulgar ones who swear, make sex jokes, and generally act like children. In some extents it's even funny. Wiig portrays the lead character, for whom we follow through the trials and tribulations, in relative solid form giving us someone to root for through the blunders of her life and the supporting cast more than makes up from the punch line laughs set up through the various situations that arise as our bridesmaids stumble through this wedding process. The script gives us enough situations to ponder and just enough set ups to get the point across, but the true highlights of the comedic element come from the rather quick banter and odd offbeat moments (with definite praise towards McCarthy and her straight up and often odd supporting bridesmaid Megan).

Yet, strip down "Bridesmaids" from the rather gimmick laid premise of women swearing and shitting in the middle of the street, and what is left is the exact same "heart of gold with vulgarity" film we've been repeatedly bashed in the face with first with Kevin Smith and then with Judd Apatow. It's by the numbers with its progression, easy to predict in how things will play out, and rarely deviates from the now patented formula to give us anything truly clever or unique. This is what is so massively disappointing with this film. The concept could have be ground breaking and genre defining, but the film's penchant for not taking the concept to its full lengths or to more or the more awkward moment leaves it oddly tasteless for the sweetness of its ideas. It succumbs to its "hit rock bottom, find the flaw, rise up" main plot and its random romantic sub plot with such force that its true highlights, that being its caricature like supporting cast and their interactions, are lost in fray.

"Bridesmaids" might be a great film for those who can't possibly get enough of Apatow and his upheaval of the comedic cinema spectrum, but for those looking for a bit more in a comedy might be a bit disappointed as it simply follows the formula to an almost perfect "t" - lettings it's rather clever idea fall a bit flat.

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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