At the Movies: ‘Bridesmaids’ not the typical wedding flick

Bridesmaids is another entry in the “weddings make women act crazy” movie genre. However, unlike many of the others, it’s actually very entertaining and not filled with clichés.

If you’ve seen any Judd Apatow movie (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, etc.) and thought it needed a female version, Bridesmaids is that movie (Apatow is listed as producer in the credits).

Though it’s female-centered, it’s far from the typical chick flick. For starters, the lead is potty-mouthed and pessimistic. There also is enough adult and bathroom humor to appeal to males (and to any women who truly enjoy that sort of thing).

The story centers on Annie (Kristen Wiig, of Saturday Night Live fame), who has just learned that her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph, another SNL alum) is engaged.

Annie, the perpetually unlucky-in-love singleton, feigns happiness about Lillian’s upcoming nuptials and agrees to be her maid of honor. The fun really begins when the audience meets the bridesmaids, including the wacky Megan (Melissa McCarthy), the naïve newlywed Becca (Ellie Kemper), the love-starved Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and the wealthy Helen (Rose Byrne).

It quickly becomes an “I’m a better friend than you are” battle as Annie and Helen continually try to outdo each other for Lillian’s approval and admiration at the engagement party, while dress shopping, and at the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Annie soon turns into the “maid of dishonor” when she and Lillian have a big blowup.

Kristen Wiig also is the script’s co-writer (with Annie Mumolo), and I found the character of Annie to be very relatable as an everyday person. Her cake business went belly-up in the recession, so she’s working at a jewelry store for a paltry amount of money. She lives with some creepy roommates, nicely rebuffing the offer to move back with her mother (Jill Clayburgh in her final role).

Wiig’s awkwardness makes Annie even funnier and more appealing. She also handles the dramatic scenes with ease. Wiig and Rudolph have nice chemistry and a believable connection as childhood friends.

An Apatow-produced movie means an eyebrow-raising scene or two, and that’s how it is here, including the opening scene featuring John Hamm (Mad Men) and Wiig in some compromising positions as they portray “friends with benefits.”

Director Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks) keeps the laughs coming at a fairly regular pace. At its core, Bridesmaids is a nice tale of friendship, more so than a romantic movie, though Annie does meet a nice state trooper (Chris O’Dowd).

The movie felt very long (it’s about two hours), and at times I found myself wondering how much longer it would go on. What really makes Bridesmaids a different kind of wedding movie is that it’s not the bride who goes crazy. I think a lot of single people (men and women) can relate to their best buddy tying the knot and the resulting fear of being left in the dust.

Bridesmaids addresses that fear and makes you laugh while doing it.

Movie Grade: B