So in a top-secret undercover mission ( see previous post) I managed to see Bridesmaids in a cinema in Islington on a Sunday morning. Was it worth it: it sure was.
Annie (Kirsten Wiig) is going through a tough time: her cake baking business has gone bankrupt, she is sleeping with the wrong man and she is asked to become maid of honour of her best friend Lillian ( Maya Rudolph). She tries to organise all the bridal rituals, from engagement speeches to hen nights (bachelorette) and bridal showers in competition with Lillian’s new friend: the perfect Helen (Rose Byrne) . This with disastrous consequences.
The main characters are excellent. Annie is going through a tough time, makes wrong decisions but at no point is she just a fuck-up or an idiot, you feel for her. Lillian is played beautifully as the bride stuck in the middle of two of her friends. She tries to handle the awkward situations ( and there are some Cringing Situations) as gracefully as she can. This is where you can see the script is written by women. The relationships are very much build through dialogue. Deadly blows are made with big happy smiles, a subtle skill that only women have. The bitchy side to Helen was the best part of her: when she started whining about how she had no friends, the film lost me. I liked the subtlety and allusion to problems. Her stepchildren telling her to fuck off really said enough.
Then the other three bridesmaids: the butch Megan ( Melissa McCarthy) was clearly the comic relief but why were the Disney loving Becca (Ellie Kemper) and Rita (WendyMcLendon-Covey) the desperate mother of three, still in the film? One can only assume that their parts were cut, either from script or film, to something non-essential. Perhaps there were scenes in which they had more to do ( a previous Vegas scene?). Actually, that was the only ‘negative’ with this film: nothing much happens: there is no real action, no big situations ( apart from a dress fitting scene, which is just too funny and gross for words.) everything happens through small recognisable situations.
Every cringe worthy scene is so painful because you can imagine it happening (the competition in Maid of Honour speeches) or you can relate to the situation ( Nice guy tries to make an effort but gets it completely wrong and you don’t want to explain yet why it is wrong. Footnote from writer: Guys, sometimes you just are.)
That is where the film’s beauty lies, in simplicity and recognition. Of course situations are exaggerated, that’s what makes it Hollywood entertainment and not an art-house film about life after 30. The dialogue is gorgeous: realistic, subtle and funny. It is a great film looking at a woman, her life and her choices, and for once not in a dramatic way but a damn funny one.