Dialogue Review – Bridesmaids
Allen Almachar: Bridesmaids (2011) stars the comedian Kristen Wiig, who, for the last couple of years, has been one of the funniest people around, and perhaps one of the last reasons to still watch Saturday Night Live. I for one, am glad to see her finally take the lead role in this film. Here, she plays the lovelorn ex-baker/current jewelry saleswoman Annie. Annie has had bad luck in love and life, with a failed bakery on her resume and brother/sister roommates who seem to be a little closer than is appropriate.
Brandi Sperry: Annie’s lack of success in love, and her lack of funds, suddenly seem like even bigger problems when her best friend Lillian (the also brilliantly funny Maya Rudolph) announces her engagement. Of course, she asks Annie to be the maid of honor. And also of course, Annie’s going to botch the job.
We quickly meet the four other women who’ll be serving as bridesmaids. There’s Becca, Lillian’s friend from work (Ellie Kemper, delightful on The Office as Erin); cousin Rita, who can’t wait for party time away from her kids (Wendi McLendon-Covey of Reno 911!); the brash sister of the groom, Megan (Groundlings alumna and star of Mike & Molly Melissa McCarthy); and, finally, Helen, Lillian’s rich new friend (Rose Byrne, star of the very not funny Damages). Despite a few awkward moments during some introductions, the crew seems to bond pretty well—with the notable exception of Annie and Helen.
Allen: Annie’s animosity toward Helen is due to Helen’s wealth and newly developed friendship with Lillian. She fears that Helen will win Lillian over and become her new best friend, with Annie falling to the wayside. Well, Annie will not stand for that, and much of the film involves her attempts to prevent Helen and Lillian from becoming closer, while also planning the best pre-wedding events a maid of honor can give.
I’m glad to say that this is one of the better comedies to come out so far this year. I do admit that at first, I didn’t really feel that the movie appealed to me. I had very little interest in watching a film about bridesmaids going out, picking dresses, going to lunches, and having bridal showers. Seeing two people fight over who would be the bride’s BFF wasn’t something I was clamoring to watch. But to my fortunate surprise, the movie was much better, and much funnier than that.
Brandi: A wedding is always a convenient way for a film to get a bunch of characters together, and I think Bridesmaids takes full advantage of the multiple events, alcohol consumption, and social pressure that come along with that, with none of the Say Yes to the Dress moments you feared. (Really, have some faith in Kristen Wiig, Allen!) Every event is more disastrous and more hilarious than the last.
Annie and Helen’s conflict is the centerpiece of the film that influences the other conflicts that come about. But I think you’re oversimplifying the reasons for Annie’s animosity toward Helen. It’s not so much the new friendship with Lillian or the wealth themselves, but the way that Helen is so (marvelously) passive-aggressive in throwing these things in Annie’s face. Wiig and Byrne do a great job of maneuvering within those dynamics, with Byrne especially surprising me with how funny every line she delivered was, while still staying in the realm of believability. I’ve never seen her in such a straight comic role, and she absolutely nails it.
Allen: Well, Helen’s passive-aggressiveness only compounds Annie’s animosity for her. Not only does she threaten to replace Annie, but also has the funds to provide Lillian with everything Annie already wants to do, but can’t afford. I’ll agree that Byrne is surprising in her comedic role here, although I wouldn’t go so far as to say everything she does is perfect. There’s a scene near the end where we learn of Helen’s background, where I wasn’t sure whether it was meant to be over the top or sincere.
Overall, I felt the movie was very entertaining. Everyone involved did well with their roles and each had a number of very funny moments. I do feel, though, that there were plenty of times where the jokes and gags fell very flat. Anytime the movie devolved to toilet humor (I’m talking about the food poisoning scene in particular), I felt it was not funny at all. I admire the fact that they go for broke here, and there are big laughs to be had, but they may have tried too hard a couple of times. Certain bits lingered past the initial laugh and started to feel a little awkward.