If like me you found yourself left disappointed at this year’s hollow Hangover –Part II (i.e. The same film, just in Bangkok) never fear, for this summer co writer and star Kristen Wiig along with an ensemble cast of hilarious actresses have provided us all with a gem of a summer comedy in the brilliant ‘Bridesmaids.’
The film centres around Kristen Wiig’s character Annie, a thirty something, lovelorn woman, whose just been named maid of honour for her best friend’s wedding. On a meagre salary at a job she despises, whilst she suppresses her true passion of baking, following a failed business venture into the industry, Annie grows to dread the role, as she feels a growing sense of inadequacy in comparison to Lillian’s new close friend Helen.
Helen played effectively by Rose Byrne is the opposite of Annie, rich, glamorous and seemingly an expert at every bit of organisation a maid of honour should really undertake. The film follows Annie’s experiences as she struggles to undertake her duties, competing with Helen at every stage, while her life gradually spiral’s downward, with Chris O’Dowd’s officer Nathan Rhodes as the only apparent glimmer of light.
As well as being a thoroughly entertaining comedy with some unexpectedly touching moments, one of the most refreshing aspects of the film is its obvious departure from the overwhelming number of male dominated comedies of this ilk in recent years.
Whilst there have been a large array of perfectly enjoyable male orientated comedies, from the likes of Will Ferell, to Judd Apatow and co, or indeed the stars of the Hangover, with ‘Bridesmaids’ I’d argue we finally have a female led comedy to rival, or even surpass such offerings.
This is an extremely entertaining film with great performances from its ensemble cast with Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph all shining and a confident performance from the IT crowd’s Chris O’dowd, which is sure to gain him offers for similar roles in the future. O’dowd appears to fill a role one usually associate with the likes of Paul Rudd, however he provides an effective performance, evoking genuine sympathy from the audience between all the laughs and unlike Rudd perhaps, allows the limelight to fall mainly on the film’s female protagonists.
Despite these fine comic turns, the film’s outstanding performance comes from Melissa McArthy as Megan, a bridesmaid of the likes you will have never seen or imagined was even possible.
McArthy a relative newcomer, despite consistent work in TV, takes on a sort of Zach Galifinakis role (the wildest and most unpredictable of the female ‘wolfpack’) and in my opinion outshines even his performance in the first Hangover feature.
I’m reluctant to compare the film too much with the Hangover as it only loosely fits the same template, however, the only female led example I can draw upon is 2008’s far more indie and perhaps severe ‘Rachel Getting Married’, which isn’t truly a fair comparison to the mainstream ‘Bridesmaids’.
Kristen Wiig has done a fantastic job in creating such a film, which will hopefully pave the way for more female led comedies to rival their more common male counterparts, with her charming lead performance as Annie allowing us to see an actress of great confidence and maturity.