Friday, June 10, 2011

At the Movies: Bridesmaids

I'd been looking forward to seeing Judd Apatow's Bridesmaids for a long time. The bf and I caught the last showing on Memorial Day, right before it was yanked from local theaters. It was funny, a veritable wishing well of wedding planning disasters. The heroine is Annie ("Saturday Night Live's" Kristen Wiig), a down-on-her-luck thirtysomething whose childhood best friend Lillian ("Saturday Night Live's" Maya Rudolph) is getting married. As if dealing with a failed bakery, a disturbing brother and sister duo for roommates, a humiliating job selling engagement rings, a clunker car, and an insensitive friend with benefits (Jon Hamm) aren't bad enough, Annie's new role as maid of honor puts her head-to-head with Lillian's new pal, wealthy, prissy, one-upper Helen (Rose Byrne). Of course, the clunker jump starts the meet-cute for Annie and nice-guy cop Officer Rhodes (Chris O' Dowd), a guy as quaintly charming as his oh-so-appropriate moniker.

I've never been a bridesmaid (well, not as an adult anyway), but everything I've read or heard about the in-fighting, jealousy, and pettiness that plague bridal parties was in full flower in this comedy. Kristen Wiig is funny and sympathetic as the always-one-step-behind Annie. With an all-star supporting cast including "Mike & Molly's" Melissa McCarthy (hilarious) and "The Office's" Ellie Kemper (so like her naive receptionist character Erin), a "Brady Bunch" reference, and an appearance by Wilson Phillips belting out "Hold On," Bridesmaids is fun and, dare I say, heartwarming. (Beware, as a gentle plot spoiler lurks within the next two sentences.) In the end, Annie finds out that her nemesis Helen has her own "stuff" to deal with, and that it's these very insecurities that account for her unpleasantness. Although the two don't become best friends (that would be unrealistic), they join forces to give Lillian the wedding she deserves, reminding us of the importance of kindness. That's a little deeper than I meant to get reviewing a comedy. But then again, even the zaniest, most outlandish blockbusters are built on a few grains of truth, offering us windows into the emotional minefields of our own lives.

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