Thursday, 30 June 2011

REVIEW: Bridesmaids

Dir.: Paul Feig
With: Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph, Jon Hamm

Unexpectedly, the film opens with Jon Hamm’s O-face. Right there and then I thought to myself, oh yeah this is going to be good. But to be honest, I still don’t know what to make of it. It’s not a bad movie and much better than most chick-flicks one sees these days. However, I think the film has been largely overhyped and really suffers from this. I came in expecting an ode to feminism, something radical and fresh but failed to find any of that. There is a test called the Bechdel test and in order to pass it, the film has to feature at least two female characters, having a conversation about something besides men. When I look at the films I reviewed this year, hardly any pass the test. “Bridesmaids” sort of does but its obsessive focus on marriage as a positive social status factor really annoyed me.

The main character, Annie, is a thirty-something woman who is unhappy with her life. The last straw is her best friend’ s sudden engagement. Annie’s derangement grows stronger the more pre-wedding events she attends and she realises that she is completely out of her depth both financially and socially. Her deepest insecurities come out when she meets Helen, a seemingly perfect wife, amazingly portrayed by Rose Byrne. Annie’s main misfortune is that she completely fails to recognise the real root to her problems and continues to blame everyone else for her own situation. In all honesty, her character really depressed me. Although Kristen Wiig is obviously a great comedian, her deep resentment towards life, envy, competitiveness and self-pitying were very hard to relate to. But all’s well that ends well and she matures slightly in the end.

Much has been written about “Bridesmaids”’s gross comedic approach, something that had been an exclusively male territory until now. It is true, some of the scenes rely on toilet humour and are actually funny but I found that the best moments were born out of witty dialogues, like the whole airplane sequence and Annie’s fight with a teenage girl. “Bridesmaids” is currently being hailed as a proclamation of female comedy, a contradiction of nature, which pre-supposes that women aren’t funny. I strongly disagree with this. The main reason behind this is that pretty much every comedy that’s come out of Hollywood in the past few years relies on laddish jokes and toilet-related gags. Grossness is so hot right now. At the same time, it is socially unacceptable, primarily by women themselves, for females to engage in that kind of humour, or worse, produce various equivalents of fart jokes. Hence the dogmatic belief that women aren’t funny. However, if you look at films from the past with actresses like Katherine Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe you’d find that it was possible to be simultaneously beautiful, classy and fucking hilarious. It’s just unfortunate that their type of humour is unfashionable these days. Although, people like Tina Fay and Sarah Silverman show that one can still make it in the business without being drop-dead-gorgeous or regressing into the gutter completely.

So, I think that “Bridesmaids” has all the makings of a good movie, but again, the fact that it revolves around marital statuses and women’s obsessive drive to get hitched, is frankly disappointing. The cast is pretty similar to “The Hangover” – there is the cool one, the fat one and the normal one/loser. It is quite sad that overweight and/or unusual looking people become the butt of the joke just because of the way they look. I thought the actress in question was one of the best things in the film, with plenty of charisma and a certain charm. Additionally, the editing was diabolic, the film felt far too long and not snappy enough; and at some moments I swear I almost fell asleep. However, it rounds off pretty well, the moral of the story being that friendships are more important in life than bridal showers (ahah...never thought I'd write such a lame statement in my life but it summarises the movie quite well).

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