Friday, June 10, 2011

Bridesmaids Premiere

** Disclaimer: I swear I have been in no way swayed by the kind attentions of the fabulously funny Ms. Kristen Wiig...

Written by: Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo

Directed by Paul Feig

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Chris O'Dowd, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Hamm

Rating: 8/10

"Better than The Hangover!" That's what the poster says...since when is The Hangover the bar by which great comedy should be judged? Well, whatever the case may be, that poster boast is definitely correct. Bridesmaids, in the guise of a gross-out comedy is beyond anything The Hangover could ever dream of...

Last night saw the director and cast of Bridesmaids walk the pink carpet at the Savoy Cinema, Dublin for the Irish premiere. Director Paul Feig (who I was tickled to recognise as Sabrina's biology teacher from Sabrina the Teenage Witch) along with stars Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live, Whip It, Knocked Up), Melissa McCarthy (Gilmore Girls, Mike and Molly) and Chris O'Dowd (The IT Crowd) were all on hand to answer questions and meet their fans (and in Chris's case, a swarm of cousins) and they appeared before the screening to introduce the film.

The hype from the States was huge but in my eyes the film more than lived up to it. Don't get me wrong, Bridesmaids is crass, silly, fun and follows the classic rom-com template. There's nothing new here. It's just that it gets every convention and nails it perfectly. It takes every low-brow joke and gives it class. It takes potentially cliched characters and make you seriously feel for them. A combination of top-notch performances and first-class direction from Paul Feig ensured every comic beat is hit, and the best is made of every joke.

The story follows Annie (Kristen Wiig), a woman on the verge of forty, whose business collapsed and boyfriend scuppered, taking with him her sense of self and every ounce of her energy and ambition. Her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announces she's getting married and she wants Annie to be her maid of honour but Lillian's new, prettier, richer, sweeter best friend Helen (Rose Byrne) is trying every underhanded trick in the book to upstage Annie. At the core of the film is Annie's journey from decadent passivity to realisation that she has hit rock bottom to a slow, realistic effort to find her spark again. The journey is truly a touching one and it helps tremendously that Kristen Wiig puts in a powerhouse performance. Her quick, razor-sharp wit and vulnerability allows us to forgive the unfortunate behaviour she exhibits at her lowest point.

Having said that, this is by no means a depressing film and unlike Annie, it doesn't allow itself to wallow for a second. Not a minute goes by without a superb gag and the supporting cast are such great performers that they make even the most gutter-worthy gags hilarious...and believe me, there's some gags in this movie that would make the Farrelly Brothers blush. The chemistry between the cast is electric and the developing relationships between the women are believable, but most importantly the developing romance between Annie and Officer Nathan Rhodes (O'Dowd) is really sweet and felt completely natural. Chris O'Dowd more than holds his own here as the good-natured, lovable policeman who falls for Annie. And as much as we all love Jon Hamm (who, again, proves his comic capabilities are second to none), we can't wait until he's out of the picture and Annie can pick up the pieces of her waning self-esteem with the warm, encouraging Nathan. He must also be applauded for not falling into any of the usual Oirish cliches but managing to represent Irish men in a wonderful light. Full of humour, smiling eyes and sly charm, he is a far cry from the characters he usually plays and pulls it off remarkably.

Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy are all outstanding in their roles, each making the most of their meaty roles, superbly written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. This screenplay is deserving of all kinds of awards but I predict that, like Judd Apatow's horribly overlooked Funny People it will probably be deemed too much fun to earn awards.

I can only presume that Bridesmaids will be as successful here as in the States. The magical combination of girly and gross-out should satisfy everyone and the balance of low-brow and high-brow should even keep the grumpy critics happy!

 - Charlene Lydon



  1. Sounds great, really excited to see this film!

  2. Looks great, sounds great. Friday night sorted for me so....;)

  3. I love your reviews. Write more!

  4. Why, thank you kindly Kathryn. If people are reading I'll be sure to write more. Cheers!