May 14, 2011

REVIEW: HERE COME THE 'BRIDESMAIDS'



The Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) produced, female driven Bridesmaids is another solid effort in his long line of raunchy, R-rated comedies except with more of a romantic twist. Often criticized for his lack of quality female characters, Apatow and actor/director Paul Feig manage to inject enough strong feminin roles and character development to construct a fun, humorous ride.

Co-written and starring current SNL-er Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids proves to be a refreshing vehicle for her brand of sharp, witty comedy. Wiig's often offbeat, unexpected one-liners and physical humour is crafted and executed fairly well. The editing is mostly on the mark throughout as comedic gags and scenes are carefully positioned and blocked to maximize laughs.

I was worried Bridemaids would feel like The Hangover with women as the trailers were definitely giving it that vibe in the marketing. The female cast is strong, particularly the chemistry between leads Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Rose Byrne. Funny enough, the male characters are mostly short shifted, used as props or plot points without much (or anything at all) to say or contribute. I actually found it kind of refreshing.

Jon Hamm shows up as a pretty deplorable cad and sex buddy to Wiig's character. Hamm clearly relishes practicing his comedic chops, getting away from his ultra brooding Don Draper character in Mad Men. The very Irish Chris O'Dowd (The IT Crowd) shows up as an American traffic cop that woos Wiig. O'Dowd is great as the nice guy and pulls off a charming, understated performance.

At times, the film feels like a loosely stitched together series of sketches and comedy beats between the scenes featuring the bridesmaids, Annie's workplace, home, and dates. However, Apatow, Feig, Wiig, and company manage to keep a decent pace. I felt a few scenes and gags dragged on, despite all being very funny. The comedy would have benefited from a tighter momentum towards the resolution and plot wrap up as supporting characters start to disappear altogether.

Bridesmaids is a refreshing comedic change of pace. It has all the hallmarks of a hard R comedy with  the raunchiness, physical humour, and many sight gags with strong women at the centre. It's very funny, sweet at times, and an entertaining effort in the Apatow series of comedies. Both men and women will find much to like and enjoy.


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