‘Bridesmaids is brilliant!’, said Zoe Williams from The Guardian . ‘Its set-piece scenes retain a charming spontaneity far from the usual contrivances of studio comedies,’ said Jason Solomons (also for The Guardian). ‘Bridesmaids is a terrifically funny, smart and tender ensemble comedy ‘, says Peter Bradshaw, in a full hat trick for The Guardian and the David Edwards from The Mirror echoes this with ‘Beg, steal or borrow, just make sure you get to see this film.’ Either it was an incredibly slow week at The Guardian head office, or all three writers genuinely loved the film and thought it was worth adding their tuppence to the film section.
Even taking a fairly jaded view of all the sources (the Times agrees, but it sits behind a paywall) I figured the film should still be quite fun. Taking it as an an archetypal ‘Hangover for her’ jaunt (their words, not mine), I figured I’d get some laughs, some sweetness and an overall sense of female bonding and friendship. I love a good chick flick, and with praise oozing from every broadsheet in Britain I thought that Bridesmaids would have to be something fairly special. It failed however- failed rather spectacularly.
The majority of chick flicks have fairly shaky premises- awkward girl likes unsuitable guy, gets good guy after she grows and realizes they’re better- cue awkward contrived situations to that effect anyways. The movie Bridesmaids was meant to shake up this traditional formula, and take a feminist step forward, a refreshing view where women were happy flying solo, and where friendship was valued above all.
To be fair, so some extent this did occur, with the frazzled Annie hysterical over her best friends nuptials and acting out because of the presumed loss. There was high jinks, there was comedy moments, there was absolutely unfucking unbelievable moments of toddler style behaviour from the adults, that would justifiable get Annie banned from that wedding and any wedding ever. Like, no forgiveness, no sweet reconciliation scene, just lawyers, a big bill and restraining order. This mental behaviour was blamed on the jealousy Annie felt towards Lillian’s new friend Helen- who is richer, prettier, oozing glamour and confidence (think stereotypical country club girl with pearls and a line in bodycon workwear).
Naturally Annie decided to hate her, and Helen’s competitive friendship one-upness didn’t help their relationship. Destroying the cake at the wedding shower and throwing things over was not the best or sanest way to demonstrate Annie’s hatred, but this public display of insanity and cruelty (doing this at her friends wedding shower!) was sort of shrugged away- oh isn’t she kooky/cute. Annie eventually makes up with Helen in a frankly ludicrous plot turn where Lillian temporarily absconds, and Helen recruits Annie’s help to find her. During the course of this 30 minute car journey, Helen talks about how bad her marriage is and how she doesn’t have any friends- all fairly preposterous behaviour and out of character behaviour of the Helen we’ve seen the whole film.
If you can bring yourself to forget this badly scripted implausible aberration and pretending that it’s OK to believe people can do a 360, we still have Annie’s sad love life to make us feel sick in our mouth.
Annie starts off the film waking up early to apply lippie before being politely ejected from her current f**k buddy’s shag pad. She dismisses this terrible rejection (it’s pretty soul destroying) by returning to him over and over again till she meets a rather pathetic cop who tries to woo her. I’m sorry, the film wants you to think he’s just a nice guy, but in all honesty he is truly wet, making clumsy moves on Annie, trying haphazardly to heal her by buying her cake stuff (she’s a failed baker) and generally being a dishrag of a man. Lucky girl- guess who she ends up with? So much for holding out for a good guy, just take the first non evil man that comes along.
Now we’ll move on to the gross out part of the movie, the bits that have critics ins stitches and have made this film equal to gross out comedies like Dumb or Dumber, and em, Shrek? There’s a food poisoning scene where food is expelled at both ends. During a bridal fitting. Cue screeches about white carpets, brides in the street and general toilet jokes that would make a ten year old boy proud. Biggest gross out of all time? I think not, except I guess they ARE women doing this, not men. Yes, if men were doing this, it wouldn’t even merit a column inch, apart from an aside about how puerile humour is still prevalent in films nowadays.
I really can’t understand the rave reviews. It’s not a terrible film- the cast are consistent, like-able characters, and Annie (played by writer Kristen Wiig) has a great line in contorted facial expressions. Some elements are highly entertaining- such as the flight where Annie goes cuckoo on prescription meds, but enough slow desultory scenes drag this firmly into 3 out of 5 star territory- 3 and a half if I’m being really kind. It’s an OK movie- it’s just not a great one. I can only imagine that the rave reviews come from people who never EVER watch chick flicks and therefore have an over inflated notion of how terrible and corny they all *might* be and have judged their reviews accordingly.
Frankly I was expecting to view a five star movie and was disappointed that it didn’t live up to its perceived promise, but if you go with no expectations you’ll have a good time.