SXSW Review: Bridesmaids Is A Raunchy, Romantic And Refreshing Must-See

By Matt Patches 2011-03-14 13:16:04discussion comments
SXSW Review: Bridesmaids Is A Raunchy, Romantic And Refreshing Must-See image
Those wondering if Kristin Wiig would be capable of jumping to leading lady from a comic chameleon on Saturday Night Live and hilarious supporting actress in movies like MacGruber and Paul, have no fear. Wiig's performance in Bridesmaids is a tour-de-force of comedic stylings, an open stage for everything from slapstick to snappy dialogue to her signature under-the-breath quipping. The funny lady does it all, and the best part is, she's one of many in the cast who deliver the laughs.

Bridesmaids centers on Annie (Wiig), a down-on-her-luck baker who sees her store close due to recession, her boyfriend leave her and her living conditions go from bad to worse all in the same chunk of time. When her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) breaks the news that she's engaged and wants Annie to be her maid of honor, she puts her own hardships aside to help out.

Things could only be so simple. Lillian introduces Annie to other bridesmaids who will all have their hands in planning the various pre-wedding festivities: Becca (Ellie Kemper) Lilly's dainty simpleton co-worker, Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey) Lillian's cousin and a party animal housewife, Megan (Melissa McCarthy) the groom's ferocious, unfiltered sister and Helen (Rose Byrne), a snobby associate trying to squeeze Annie out of the picture.

With the setup of wedding planning and events-go-wrong style humor, Bridesmaids sounds like a female equivalent of The Hangover -- yet it's anything but. Producer Judd Apatow and director Paul Feig (creator of Freaks and Geeks) have whipped up a character-driven story with charmingly perverse humor, something we haven't seen since The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Alongside moments of extreme flatulence and bizarre, out-of-left-field jokes (why does Megan drive around with a car full of puppies? Because it's hilarious), Feig finds a place for genuinely romantic and touching moments. Annie becomes entangled with two men over the course of Bridesmaids, a chauvinistic Jon Hamm and a persistent cop (Chris O'Dowd) looking for a date, and with latter she shares a surprisingly sweet (albeit predictable) romance. Looking adorable, just another weapon in Wiig's utility belt.

Like Apatow's films, Bridesmaids runs a tad long with jokes occasionally overstay their welcome, but the humor and talent are so refreshing, you forgive the filmmakers for allowing the ladies to riff for a few more beats. The movie isn't a blast because a major studio release finally let women play in the comedic sandbox, but because it's a sharp flick with a handful of great performances. The foiled personas of McLendon-Covey and Kemper could have a spin-off all their own, while McCarthy's Megan is up there with most of Chris Farley's best work.

Bridesmaids is raunchy, well-crafted fun and a must-see when it hits theaters in May. The world needs more three-dimensional and unbridled romantic comedy leads like Kristin Wiig. Please?
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