Bridesmaids (2011) ☆☆☆(3/4) : Her best female friend is going to get married

 Few hours after watching “Bridesmaids”, which is funnier and sweeter than I thought, I had some small talk with a female bartender. Because I do not know well about women and the ways of their thinking, I briefly explained her about the synopsis of the movie and asked them whether such a competition like that in the movie exists in the real life. Her answer was, amusingly, yes. She told me about how sensitive the girls about the relationship with their best female friend, or BFF. They become insecure when there is some shift in the equilibrium, and the relationship is subsequently strained, but they soon become closer again as before. Yes, the girls know better than our boys.

Though it is ultimately about women getting the men they want just like any romantic comdies made nowadays, the movie works because it has a sweet heart caring about its female characters, who are hurled into, or run into, the series of social embarrassments accompanied with the raunchiness equivalent to that of the recent male comedies like “The Hangover”(2009). This movie certainly proves that the ladies are as capable as the gentlemen in case of doing dirty comedies, and it tickled me and other audiences in big or small ways.

For Annie, played by the co-writer Kristen Wiig, her life is frustratingly going nowhere at present. Her bakery was closed due to the recent recession, her boyfriend left her, and she is now stuck with some odd British brother and sister in her apartment. She wants a man in her life, but she has continued the shallow carnal relationship with some guy named Ted(uncredited Jon Hamm in dashingly obnoxious mode) though she does not like him much.

At least, she is relatively brightened up when she talks with her best friend Lillian(Maya Rudolph). As close friends, they frankly talk about everything including the bedroom activity. Wiig and Rudolph are good comedians; the breakfast conversation scene between them at the diner is both funny and intimate while freely going into the regions I am not so willing to discuss about.

Now Lillian is going to marry, and Annie will be the lead bridesmaid of Lillian’s wedding. However, it will not be easy for Annie for being the lead bridesmaid who will manage the preparation process including the bridal shower. When Annie attends Lillian’s engagement announcement party, she meets other bridesmaids, and one of them is Helen(Rose Byrne), the young wife of the boss of Lillian’s fiancé. With Annie’s insecurity about her position as Lillian’s best friend and Helen’s tendency to control the show, the competition between Helen and Annie is instantly sparked from their first encounter, followed by the funny scene of the two girls competing for getting the last word for congratulating Lillian’s engagement in front of other confounded guests.

And that is just the start. The movie does a good job of drawing the laughs constantly from the various troubles ensued along their bumpy preparation process. In one of the funniest scene, Annie and other girls go to an elegant dress shop for the dresses for the wedding after having a lunch at some Brazilian restaurant recommended by Annie. Unfortunately for them(and the dress shop owner), they suddenly have to take care of a certain embarrassing biological problem. Fortunately for us, we are saved from the graphic details while getting lots of laughs from its slow start to its frantic(and sweaty) payoff.

While making her character an understandable walking trouble, Kritsten Wiig, a former SNL comedian, does a lot of funny things. Watching the behavior of the drunken character is not usually as funny as you think(If you have ever been to the bars, you know what I mean), but Wiig succeeds at being both very embarrassing and very hilarious when Annie, influenced by alcohol and drug, makes a big fuss on the plane to Las Vegas. Annie’s romance with the cop(Chris O’Dowd) who stops her car for a broken taillight is an obligatory side dish in the story, but it also has the moment for Wiig’s talent to shine.

 Meanwhile, Wiig and co-writer Annie Mumolo allow other actresses besides Wigg, Rudolph, and Byrne to have a fun with their respective characters. The standout is Melissa McCarthy as Lillian’s brash future sister-in-law. If she wants something, this chubby girl goes all the way to get it, as shown by her funny interaction with a man who happen to sit next to herl(he is played by her real-life husband Ben Falcone). As other bridesmaids, Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey are not relatively utilized well, but they have a good scene as a jaded housewife saddled with her ruthless kids and a naive wife having just started her married life. And the movie is the last film of late Jill Clayburgh, who plays Annie’s mom who loves to go to the AA meetings though she is not an addict.

The movie is produced by Judd Apatow, who has produced/directed several raunchy male comedies with lovable sides. He and others applied the romantic comedy formula to the guys’ story, so we are now familiar to that term ‘bromance’ thanks to them. And now the circle seems to be completed with this movie, where the bromance formula is applied to the girls’ story. The movie diligently follows the formula, and you are pretty sure about what will happen during its third act, which is a little too long, but that comes with laughs and warmth while everything is fine for these ladies again.

By the way, the movie is coincidentally released on this weekend in South Korea along with the other notable raunchy comedy of this year, “The Hangover: Part II”. Unlike that hilarious previous movie, “The Hangover: Part II” is mostly cringe-inducing rather than funny. “Bridesmaids” has surely its own cringe-inducing scenes, but it is definitely funnier than that lazy, unpleasant comedy, and the audience response was more positive. So, at least in my view, we can say that the ladies win this time.

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