Bridesmaids

Movie Review #812: ‘Bridesmaids’ is a story we’ve seen a million times, but it’s not usually told with so much heart.

★★★
By Alexander Diminiano

bridesmaids

Comedy, Romance
Unrated Version:
Rated NR (contains strong sexual content, partial nudity, profanity)
131 minutes
Theatrical Version:
Rated R
125 minutes

Editor’s Note: This is a review of the unrated version, which runs six minutes longer than the theatrical, R-rated version.

“Bridesmaids” spends a running time of two hours, eleven minutes doing quite a lot, but really only doing one thing at all. It’s a Hollywood demonstration of how exactly one might teach an old dog new tricks. Of course, I’m using that as an idiom. The only dogs in “Bridesmaids” are handed out as party favors at a rich and fancy, Paris-themed wedding shower, and Melisa McCarthy’s character ends up taking home nine of them. This is before she discovers she can only manage six at the most, and god only knows what she does with the other three. Those were pretty young dogs, too, tiny and adorable, primped to the Hollywood look.

Which reminds me that I am discussing a movie in which these dogs contribute to one of several massive belly laughs. They wouldn’t even be there, though, if it weren’t for how cleverly the script refurbishes its timeworn plot. It’s yet another movie about all the madness that ensues before weddings. And yet again, the problems are all among the women. But “Bridesmaids” is not at all a Julia Roberts romcom dug up from its hokey ’90s grave. It’s a fresh, fierce, funny movie with a strong female lead.

At the top of “Bridesmaids” stand two features that I’ve already highlighted: the script and McCarthy’s performance. Each was nominated for its respective Oscar (the first two Oscars ever for a Judd Apatow-produced movie), and both were very well deserved. Though while McCarthy stands out in her supporting performance as the sister of the groom, Kristen Wiig is the queen of this movie. Her character dominates the movie with her emotional development, which adds a deep, focused, and relatable drama into this upbeat comedy. Wiig’s character seems to fall flat a little when the story takes a predictable direction near the climax, but at the same time, both she and the screenplay (which she co-wrote) seem to generate a more heated personality. While the movie takes an unhurried route to get to its last thirty minutes, it all pays off when the movie becomes suddenly ten times funnier than any scene before this point.

“Bridesmaids” isn’t new. It just feels new because its hackneyed story is treated with CPR and makeup. A great deal of the humor depends on whether the viewer appreciates SNL gal Kristen Wiig’s perky comedy. I, for one, loved this movie, but I can certainly understand hating it. All right, I didn’t love the whole thing. If you’ve seen the movie, and even maybe if you haven’t, you probably know which scene was just too much for me.

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