How hard can it be to get a wedding on the road? If you watch the bridesmaids in a film of the same name getting increasingly frazzled as the day comes nigh,you will wonder if it is Armageddon,not simply a day when two people are joined in matrimony. If you are at that stage,that is. Those who are past it will see the whole process for what it is,and chortle anyway.
The troubles are endless,the joys are few. Bridesmaids is an anti-chick flick of a high order,in the way it subverts all the pretty highpoints of the genre. Women trying on bridal finery are meant to ecstatic. With all the lace and the shoes and the bags and the brooches,delighted shrieks are to be expected. Here bride Lillian (Maya Rudolph) and best pal-cum-maid of honour Annie (Kristen Wiig),chief- fly-in-the-ointment Helen (Rose Byrne),and the other bridesmaids all end up in the washroom of a tony bridal boutique after a severe bout of food poisoning. Theres nothing genteel about what happens next. I won’t spoil it for you,but I will say this: a more ugh moment in a film meant to be about goodlooking brides and perfect weddings may be hard to find.
Lillian starts off being fine. But right from the get-go,as she breaks the news to Annie,you can see that this is going into different territory. Annie is happy for her friend,but sad for herself: her life is a mess. She has conditional sex with a guy who wants her out of his bed before morning. Shes had to close down her bakery business because of the recession. She hates her job. She has some seriously weird roommates,in the shape of an overweight,over-cuddly (with each other) British sibling pair. She doesn’t want to move in with her mom because,come on,who does that? And when true love appears in front of her,shes oblivious.
Wiig,who’s co-written the movie (the producer is bromance prince Judd Apatow who made the hilarious Knocked Up) makes Annie refreshingly real. The character doesn’t make any excuses for being a klutz. Or being envious of both her best friend whos lucky enough to be getting married,and Lillian’s growing fondness for the poised,not-a hair-out-of-place Helen. Who is not only the grooms boss’s wife,but who wants to supplant Annie in Lillian’s affections.
As Lillian,Rudolph is excellent. She wants her wedding to be like a fairytale. And she’s practical enough to realize that to let the boss’s wife have her way will benefit her,Lillian,in multiple ways. But the affection she has for Annie is solid,too,and though it makes the film a little squelchy in the end,it reaffirms our faith in BFFs. All the other women,including the control-freak-on-top-but-lonely-underneath Bryne,are well-written too.
The DVD is a tad truncated,because of the removal of some graphic scenes (performed hilariously by the handsome Jon Hamm and the tumbledown Wiig),But Bridesmaids is still fun,for those who like their chicks flicks with some sinew-and-vinegar on them.
For those who want to stay miles away,I’d suggest the antidote,Hangover 2. Where instead of a bunch of gals indulging in ill-behaviour and gustatory excesses,you have a bunch of guys getting trashed. The reason is the same. One of them is getting married. The hugely successful Hangover had exactly the same theme: the guys having a last fling in Vegas,while jousting with tigers,heavyweight champs,ladies of the night,and squeaky-voiced gay Asian mobsters. The sequel takes place in Bangkok,where the jokes about the citys name go beautifully with the general tenor of the film. The groom gets lost,again,the pals go looking for him,again,get stuck in all kinds of sticky situations,again. And this time around,theres a cigarette-smoking monkey,too.
Weddings do take place at the end of both films. And you sigh,for very different reasons. But I will leave you with that first thought,slightly edited: do weddings,and their planners,and their participants,have to have such a tough time? But then again,any kind of letting up is unthinkable these days. Where would that leave modern-day Cinderellas and their less-than-ordinary Prince Charmings,and their collective feet of clay?