tongue-tied lightning

The Best Films of 2011: #18 Bridesmaids
February 3, 2012, 5:33 PM
Filed under: film | Tags: , , , , ,

Armond White decried Bridesmaids for “imitating frat boy vulgarity” and claimed it was evidence of feminism having been defeated. Not only is he completely missing the progressive aspects of the film, it implies a different kind of chauvanism, suggesting that women shouldn’t be or aren’t capable of being just as perverted, crass, and pathetic as men. Unique in that it’s a film about a wedding, starring a woman, that isn’t merely waiting for Hugh Grant to come along and make everything better. It’s telling that the groom hardly factors into the picture, appearing in just two scenes, one of them being the wedding itself. This is a film about friendships and just how messy they can sometimes be.

All of this would be beside the point if the film wasn’t funny, and it’s very funny indeed. I’d go so far as to call it the funniest film to come out of the Judd Apatow machine. It renews his partnership with Paul Feig, who helped him launch Apatow Productions in 1999 with Freaks and Geeks, still the best thing either of them has been behind. Kristen Wiig has been one of my favorite comediennes for awhile now and she’s in top form here. Displaying not only her inimitable talent for broad set pieces (the airplane scene was a highlight for me) but a surprising flair for drama as well. Speaking of surprises Melissa McCarthy, whose presence on Chuck Lorre’s Mike and Molly had led me to completely write her off, nearly runs away with the film at points.

That’s not to say the film is without its flaws. In interviews Wiig and Annie Mumalo, who cowrote the film, revealed that Apatow and Feig retooled the picture a bit and added some of its more vulgar scenes in an attempt to attract a male audience. They needn’t have worried and the most obvious scene they added is also the film’s weakest. It’s pulled off only by its cast’s willingness to take it to baroque heights, but it’s not hard to picture the film without it and stronger besides. I somehow got to the end of this review without mentioning Jon Hamm, whose over the top riff on his Don Draper persona delivers some of the film’s biggest laughs. “I really want you to leave, but I don’t know how to say it without sounding like a dick.”


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