Movies, for the most part, don’t always age well. While it may feel easy to recognize something like director Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids as a classic in the making, it’s hard to land that sort of distinction when making said film. But here we are, a decade into the legacy of Universal’s surprise smash hit, and the script from future Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar masterminds Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumalo is still as sharp and hysterical as it was during its initial release. If you ask Mr. Feig why that’s true, he’d tell you it's all about one important factor: relatability.
I recently had the honor of speaking with Paul Feig in honor of Bridesmaids landing an exclusive streaming home at Peacock, just in time to celebrate its 10th anniversary. While most people see the movie being as fresh and funny as the day it was released, the big question that anyone would naturally ask is why exactly that is. According to Mr. Feig himself, Bridesmaids’ timeless nature comes from the following:
It’s a very relatable story. With all the window dressing of all the crazy stuff that happens in it, at its heart, it’s about a person whose life has kind of gone off the rails, and the only thing they have is their best friend. Suddenly, it looks like they’re going to lose their best friend to somebody who feels much more together and better than they are. It’s a very relatable thing, and what we aimed to do with that very grounded, relatable story is to tell it in sort of the most outrageous way we could. Again, I think people all remember the dress shop scene, and all the outrageous things, but if you didn’t have that base, that core, which is almost a dramatic film, under it, I don’t think it would mean as much to people. If it was just a bunch of shenanigans, then it would have just sort of gone the way of some other comedies that just are around but don’t get watched as much as we do.
The dress shop scene is certainly an example of why Bridesmaids is such a memorable movie in the first place. The wild antics that take place throughout the fast and funny journey to the wedding of Lillian (Maya Rudolph) are indeed outrageous enough to make an impression. However, the humor isn’t drawn from merely putting Kristen Wiig’s Annie, Melissa McCarthy’s Megan or any of the other Bridesmaids characters into situations that didn’t mean something to their personalities.
It’s that core approach that changed various sequences that almost found their way into the 2011 film, like an extended “Lillian is dead” gag or the big blind date scene that Paul Rudd filmed, but was dropped from the final product. Another scene that came up when talking about the relatable timelessness of Bridesmaids was the moment where Annie, anxious about flying, is given some medication and a bit of scotch to mellow out. The combination has the desired effect, rendering our protagonist as a severely honest, and slightly aggressive, party. The results speak for themselves:
In a lesser version of Bridesmaids, Annie would have flown off the handle and went into a fit of histrionic behavior. It would have been an over-the-top moment that, depending on who you are, would have either landed or didn’t. But with Paul Feig’s understanding of comedy, as well as his collaboration with producer Judd Apatow and writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumalo, Bridesmaids turned a funny moment into a lasting memory of very human humor.
Paul Feig himself even pointed out that Annie’s behavior in the scene is merely unlocked by the medication and alcohol skeleton key she was given by her friends. Much like when he approached the infamous dress shop scene, no character was given a behavior that they wouldn’t already act upon under normal circumstances. Relatable dignity wins the day, and in turn, Bridesmaids makes its characters more lovable, and even funnier to watch.
Just as Annie took special care in making the pastries at Cake Baby, Paul Feig and the Bridesmaids team built a film that will stand the test of time. Using only the finest ingredients, and even going as far as casting an absolute murderer’s row of comedic talent for roles great and small, every component was measured carefully and combined to form a tasty laugh riot.
If you’re looking to celebrate Bridesmaids’ 10th anniversary, Peacock is now streaming the film exclusively. As the film is halfway to the day it can officially be called a classic, there’s sure to be plenty of new fans joining the fold because of this convenient turn of events. So if you’re hosting a movie night, whether it’s virtual or safely gathered in person, you now have the option to make it a Bridesmaids night! Just be careful of where you get your take out from when settling in to enjoy.