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Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids

"Funny ladies doing mostly unfunny things" probably isn't that good
as an alternative title

dir: Paul Feig

If this is the ‘female’ response to what is commonly and erroneously referred to as the Summer of Judd Apatow – raunchy comedies, then what the fuck was the question? I’m sure there are plenty of mouthbreathers who were wondering: “Shoot, what would a flick like The Hangover be like if it was all chicks? Yeah, and how do they get I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter to taste like butter so much?”

The answer to both is not worth speaking, or hearing, really.

This isn’t really a raunchy comedy showcasing female comedic talent. Kristen Wiig as the lead, and Maya Rudolph have both been funny in stuff, and in far funnier films than this. The problem here is that, for a comedy, it’s not really that funny.

It’s far more of a low-stakes drama than anything else, because all of the impetus of the plot is about how shitty the main character feels because her best friend has some other friend. In other words, this groundbreaking and radical comedy is all about how bitchy, shallow, insecure and jealous women are.

It’s almost as if we live in a universe where the Sex and the City series and movies don’t exist. What a sweet universe that would be…

Also, what it’s not about is how fucking insane some otherwise sane women become when it comes to getting married. Instead of mocking or even deriding the wedding porn – Bridezilla mentality that’s becoming ever more prevalent even as I bloviate during this review, it celebrates it. Any misgivings it might have about the phenomenon, or the behaviour of the women in relation to wedding hysteria in general is diverted by the fact that all of the conflict comes down to a woman being jealous of another woman, whose shitty life then falls apart because of her jealousy.

What I find weirdest about all of this is that Kristen Wiig developed and co-wrote the script. So this funny, talented woman who’s been good in a bunch of flicks, far better than on Saturday Night Live, I’ll tell you that much for free, wanted this? She wanted to play this pathetic creature voluntarily? She created it?

It’s like watching Germaine Greer play Ally McBeal in an episode she wrote herself. Well, maybe not quite the same.

There’s less cursing and self-aggrandisement that there would have been with Germaine at the helm.

Annie (Kristen Wiig) is the Best Friend Forever of Lillian (Maya Rudolph). Lillian’s life is going great guns. She’s marrying some super-rich arsehole, and everything in her world couldn’t be better. Annie’s life is shit as. The cake shop she used to run went bankrupt; her flatmates are an abominable pair of obese morons, and Lillian has some other woman called Helen in her life who is usurping Annie’s prime position as the maid of honour, who’s played by Australia’s Own Rose Byrne.

Naturally, or at least I think naturally, we’re meant to sympathise with Annie’s plight as her anxiety increases at the prospect of fucking up Lillian’s wedding. Of course, all she does is fuck up every element of Lillian’s wedding that isn’t handled better by someone else.

The entire script is structured with the kind of annoying pandering to a female demographic that struck gold with those loathsome Bridget Jones’s Diary flicks, whereby every single goddamn thing people say to the main character is along the lines of “You must be married, you’re not married? And you’re so old. Why aren’t you married? Doesn’t everyone else’s married happiness make you feel like shit?”

About the only female harridan standby they don’t use, since Wiig is very thin, is constantly implying that she’s so fat and not good in the kitchen, and that’s why no man will have her.

What fucking era is this again? Is this a period piece? Where’s the bonnets and bustles and such?

Let’s not do the time warp again. Speaking of thin, the ‘new’ evil usurper best friend Rose Byrne is so thin she’s managed to borrow that permanently hungry look from Jennifer Garner which I loathe so much. Throw her a fucking cookie before she eats a cast member.

Yes, we’re meant to relate to what Annie’s going through, but all I could think is how unlikable almost every single character in this flick was. I wasn’t sure why exactly we were supposed to side with Annie, since almost everything she did came from a place of insecurity and jealousy. If we had more reasons to care about her or any of the characters, then maybe it would have mattered, and her behaviour could have existed in some kind of context. As it is, she does some dumb shit, other people do dumb shit, little of it made me laugh, and that’s the sum and total of it.

Speaking of dumb shit, the ‘big’ scene in the flick is where the ladies, on the way to a dress fitting, consume food that gives them food poisoning. They all get violent diarrhoea and vomiting simultaneously, which is so fucking funny I forgot to laugh. Surely there’s nothing funnier than watching a woman in a wedding dress pretend to take a crap in the middle of the street.

If that’s not funny, then nothing in the history of hilarity has ever been funny.

The one person who perhaps didn’t make me want to punch the whole cast in their collective oeuvres was the cop (Chris O’Dowd) who’s the love interest inserted into the flick painfully as the one sane person in this movie’s world. Everyone else, even down to my man Jon Hamm, who plays the worst version of Jon Hamm/Don Draper you could possibly imagine, plays caricatures of characters instead of characters, none of them vaguely likable.

I can keep complaining and complaining, I assure you, but the flick just isn’t worth it. Unlikable characters do unlikable things, and it’s all wrapped up in the messy, ugly package of a wedding. And it doesn’t try to have its cake and eat it too by satirising the female obsession with weddings and materialism, it celebrates it all and blames all the flick’s problems on one woman’s insecurity. And everything will be fine as long as some man likes her, and her best friend reasserts that she’s still the centre of her universe.

I used to have a friend like that. I can assure you, one performance at the end of a wedding by Wilson Phillips doesn’t cure these horrible sorts of emotional vampires of their awfulness. No, they’re the undead. It’s only sunlight and a stake through the heart that solves these kinds of problems.

Bah. That’s all I have to finish off with. Bah.

4 times I probably laughed in 2 hours out of 10

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“This is the first time I've seen you look ugly, and that makes me happy!” – sisters are doing it for themselves – Bridesmaids.

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