Wednesday, July 24, 2013

69. Bridesmaids (2011)

Code-name: SNL BFF's

Director: Paul Feig
Type: R-rated Comedy (with some gross-out)

Annie Walker- Kristen Wiig
Lillian- Maya Rudolph
Megan- Melissa McCarthy
Helen- Rose Byrne
Nathan Rhodes- Chris O'Dowd
Becca- Ellie Kemper
Rita- Wendi McLendon-Covey
Gill- Matt Lucas
Brynn- Rebel Wilson
Annie's mom- Jill Clayburgh (RIP- died a year b4 theatrical release)
Air Marshall John- Ben Falcone

WIN- AFI- Movie of the Year

Notable Nominations:
OSCAR- Best Supporting Actress- Melissa McCarthy
OSCAR- Best Original Screenplay- Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo
Golden Globe- Best Supporting Actress- Melissa McCarthy
Golden Globe- Best Picture (Comedy/Musical)


[ok... I'm a believer]

Promoted as the "female Hangover" movie, "Bridesmaids" was tauted as one of the biggest surprises in the box office in 2011. And while she wasn't lobbying for "Finding Nemo" to get a sequel, Ellen kept saying how much she loved this movie... and she didn't even need a cast member as a guest to bring it up.

I just scoffed at the idea. Firstly because I loved "The Hangover" and didn't like that people were already trying to top it. But mainly, I didn't feel women should do gross-out comedies. I see that as more of a guy thing.
But as often is the case, I was proved wrong. I still don't think it's funnier than "The Hangover," but it got more laughs out of me than I ever expected.
(Rest assured, a handful of my favorite movies yet to be discussed were ones I had zero interest in seeing or just was skeptical... I'm not afraid to admit I'm wrong when it comes to these sorts of things).

Part of the reason I wasn't up for it was also because of its leads. More so Maya Rudolf because I didn't recall seeing Kristen Wiig-- but after seeing the movie, I stood corrected. I HAD seen Kristen Wiig and enjoyed her work on SNL. I'm likely one of the few people who loves Gilly :-P her designated Christmas special is a guilty pleasure, about which I have ZERO guilt.
Although I give her some slack because she's a Prince fan (and with a friend of hers, has performed his songs live as "Princess"), I just haven't found her funny. That remains true, but for the majority, I liked her in this movie... either because she played straight or the annoying department was taken up by someone else.

[The Basics]

We're introduced to Annie (Kristen Wiig) and Lillian (Maya Rudolf) as the tightest of besties. Lillian recently got engaged and made Annie her maid-of-honor. As the title suggests, the bridesmaids give additional dimension to the story.
You have:
  • Rita, the cynical, overworked housewife with young kids in DIRE need of a get-away
  • naive (their thoughts, not mine) Becca who recently got married to the only boyfriend she ever had
  • (borrowing from "The Hangover" again), the future sib-in-law, Megan (also the scene stealer of the movie, much like Zach Galifianakis)
...btw, is it also coincidence that the groom's name is a derivative of Doug?

Last (and most certainly least) is Helen, Lillian's newest friend. Both beautiful and generous, she's a "little Mrs. Perfect" who may have a hidden passive-aggressive streak. Watch the interaction between her and Annie and tell me I'm wrong. There just seems to be this hidden desire for her to one-up Annie in everything she does, just to thank Lillian for being the best friend she ever had... and they'd only known each six months.

(and there are several moments that prompt that reaction... almost like it's a reoccurring theme... also known as outer conflict generated by the plot)

The way it's written (not to mention who wrote it), the audience is lead to sympathize with Annie because she's the protagonist. She represents the average everyday woman in all of us. Starting out, we see the multiple ways why her life sucks.

Lillian insists that Annie and Helen spent time together, get to know each other. Annie (me as well) is skeptical and remains so for the majority of the movie.
Ala the "reoccurring theme"-- if Helen isn't shooting down Annie's ideas, she either makes sure she's the first time to tell everyone her own ideas... or she downright steals the ideas she hated and passes them off as their own.

But amidst the drama, hilarity is never too far behind and that balance is what makes good films. Especially in a comedy like this.

[Scene Stealing and Memorable Moments]

Another running "joke" in the plot is the fact Annie's car (ancient, btw, from the 80's or 90's) has a tail-light out and keeps forgetting to get it fixed.
On the plus side, it's how she meets her new flame, Nathan- a policeman who happens to have an Irish accent. She believes he pulled her over because she was driving erratically, as if drunken. This was after the engagement party so she was complaining to herself about Helen, whom she'd just met for the first time.
She doesn't just walk the straight line and do the alphabet backwards, but she even does a little jig for more laughs (big laughs too).

The shenanigans they get into together are simply brilliant, but they're also things that probably wouldn't be legal in reality. Like when he shows her how to use a radar gun and they let people get away with driving 10-15 miles above the speed limit.
At least when someone was doing 90, they got their act together.
That relationship does a lot of good for Annie, especially with the lack of confidence she's been battling throughout the beginning of the film, but she finds it difficult to commit after they sleep together for the first time. 

As for the "gross-out" factor, it only comes through in one particular scene (to my knowledge... I haven't seen the unrated version). Annie picks out a Brazillian restaurant that, subsequently, makes everyone ill... except for Helen who had the "foresight" to have a salad.
Immediately afterwards, they go to pick out dresses and unfortunately, that's where the food gets to them, and all kinds of bodily functions overreact. Not even the wedding dress goes unscathed.

Other than that, most of the R-rating comes from a couple brief sex scenes and vulgar language. At times, it's a tad overkill, but most of it is merited. R-movies aren't always my thing, but when the content is handed tastfully, they do really well. 

My absolute favorite scene is the plane ride to Vegas. 
Apparently, Annie is afraid of flying or doesn't travel well, so she's not feeling well. Being stuck in coach while everyone else is in first class doesn't help either. Helen offers her some pills to calm down, one of the few instances where I believe she's genuinely nice, and it has some adverse results. 
She's practically intoxicated, stumbles into first class, talking all kinds of crazy. My sides literally split at the scenes when she's arguing with the flight attendant Steve because he is so montone, but freaking hilarious. The best line comes when she reads his name tag: "what kind of name is Stove?" and she's acting like he can't see her, but he does his job to keep her in coach.
And anyone who saw the trailers knows this is where Megan banters with the guy she suspects to be an Air Marshall, flirting with him. Even more hilarious because they're married in real life.
Unfortunately, Annie's sheningians gets the whole bridal party thrown off the plan so the bachelorette party doesn't happen and Helen is dubbed the new maid-of-honor. Aside from Megan's new love interest, the only success was that Rita and Becca were able to bond over drinks. 

As if things weren't bad enough, Annie has to move in with her mom because her roommate and his sister (who doesn't even pay rent!!) kick her out of the apartment.

Then all hell breaks loose at the bridal shower after Helen steals another of Annie's ideas... hence another tirade laced with F-bombs. Plus she destroys the chocolate fountain and a giant cookie shaped like a heart. 
Lillian flips out and ultimately kicks her out of the wedding. But before all comedy is lost, she screams to the staff as she's making her exit "No! She does not get a party-favor!"
...did I mention she was giving away puppies? Golden Retreiver puppies?
LOL... and Megan steals like 7 of them (and gives Annie a helluva good pep talk a couple scenes later). 

Luckily, they found a clever way to sew the plot back together before it falls apart.
Lillian gets cold feet and Helen is freaking cuz she can't find her.
(Yeah, karma's a bitch, lady).
Annie goes with her to find Nathan and does all kinds of sheningians in her car to get his attention... freaking awesome!

And all's well that ends well.
The two of them finally look like they could be friends.

...although Helen gets Wilson Phillips (Lillian's favorite group) to sing at the wedding reception, one final one-up.

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