One of the few non-disastrous moments. It is during times like these that we reflect on what is to come.

Bridesmaids is getting near-universal praise as both a super fucking funny comedy (it is) and also a tremendously heartfelt movie with a believable and relatable underdog story that is both akin to and a counterpoint of the usual romantic comedy formula. A lot is being made of the fact that this is a raunchy, Apatow-ish comedy but that it was written by and stars women. In fact, the men are given little screentime (though both Jon Hamm and Chris O’Dowd are hilarious). There’s a whole structure of discussion about this and about how unintentionally chauvinistic many of the reviews are. I invite you to go take a look at that if it’s interesting to you, as it is to me, but I’m not going to add much to that discussion. It’s hard to strip away the greater context in which this movie exists and I will acknowledge that there aren’t many “for women, by women” comedies that transcend the empty-headedness or by-the-numbers structure romantic comedies have ultimately succumbed to.

What you should know about Bridesmaids is that it easily appeals to both sexes in terms of its comedy if not the relationships and overall plot. That said, if you aren’t a bit moved by how sad Kristen Wiig’s character’s life has gotten, you’re probably an unfeeling prick. For my part, I could get into the relationships and plot because it is ultimately all about friendship and getting around problems both interior and exterior in your lives. That shit is relatable no matter that you have a penis or not. The skill in capturing that essence while unabashedly reflecting the nuances of female relationships as they are generally understood is what makes this movie work so well on that level. You’re sucked in by the funny but by the end, you’re also invested in the characters and how everything is going to work out.

Everyone delivers but Kristen Wiig is really something else here. She runs an emotional range that really proves she deserves better than the bit parts she’s been doing in funny movies for quite some time now. One of the problems with her is that she’s overexposed (she’s in like 2-3 movies a year the last 2 years running probably). It’s good to have more funny women character actors but she’s capable of a lot more and I hope this movie boosts her profile enough that she can take on some meatier, more central roles. I’d also like to see her do some dramatic work after this.

The other stand-outs are Melissa McCarthy and Jon Hamm (who’s contribution is, on both the script and performance level, an awesome subversion of the “hot guy of the week” casting that typifies romcoms). McCarthy is the MVP doing the “fat awkward guy” role that so many male comic actors are known for. The script does not leave her hanging at this level, though, and she provides some of the biggest laughs and some of the moments with real heart. That she looks so much like Ricky Gervais added layers of funny to everything she said and did as far as I was concerned.

Speaking of people in this movie who look like male comics… Annie (Wiig)’s British roommate looks like Jonah Hill in drag. In fact, I was convinced it WAS Jonah Hill in drag until about halfway through the movie. The resemblance is fucking uncanny and I hope there’s a performance in both their future that takes advantage of this. She and her hairless brother provide some of the better laughs in the movie as well, but they’re not around enough to make as big an impact as others and I’m glad there was restraint in using them because it shows a level of focus in Bridesmaids that comedies of its kind rarely have (more thinking of the Apatow/Adam MacKay style stuff here).

The point of this review is to convince people who would normally dismiss Bridesmaids to go fucking see it. I am telling you it is a movie you can even see with your bros. Though, it probably makes a better date movie or the obligatory movie you see with one or more female friends who usually want to drag you to bullshit like Something Borrowed. If you know enough about romcoms and have a taste for irony and subversion, you’ll really appreciate Bridesmaids on that level, too.

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