Starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph & Rose Byrne
Directed by Paul Feig
Rated R, 125 minutes
June is traditionally the month for weddings, and “Bridesmaids” gets the party started with a bridal-shower blast of brassy hilarity and a cast of ferociously funny females.
“Saturday Night Live” standout Kristen Wiig finally gets the chance to shine in a leading role, and shine she does, as writer, star and co-producer. Move over and make way, Tina Fey.
Wiig plays Annie, an unmarried 30-something whose love life, automobile, self-esteem and finances are equally in tatters. Asked by her childhood best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph, Wiig’s real-life gal pal and “SNL” cast mate), to be the maid of honor at her wedding, Annie gamely goes along with the plan, even though she can’t afford it.
Can their friendship survive Annie’s well-intentioned but hopelessly mangled attempts at managing things?
The laughs start early and roll through nearly every scene, cresting in a gross-out gem of gastrointestinal distress in a bridal shop and an episode of madcap mayhem on an airplane.
“Bridemaids” will inevitably be compared to a certain other movie about a rowdy pre-nup party. But it’s not just a “Hangover” for women. It’s sweeter and smarter than that, and its R-rated bawdiness bobs in a rich, robust undercurrent of genuine emotion and honest observation about relationships both within and across gender lines.
Melissa McCarthy, Molly in TV’s “Mike & Molly,” steals just about every scene in which she appears as Megan, the groom’s sister, whose significant girth and libidinous appetite for life gives the movie a center of gravity in more ways than one.
The movie is wall to wall with other funny women, all given funny lines and funny things to do, including Rose Byrne (Ellen Parsons on TV’s “Damages”), Wendi McLendon-Covey from “Reno 911” and Ellie Kempler, who plays Erin on “The Office.”
“Bridesmaids” also marks the final film appearance of veteran actress Jill Clayburgh, who died last year, as Annie’s ditzy, doting mother.
Jon Hamm from “Mad Men” and Irish actor Chris O’Dowd play the movie’s only two significant males, and their characters couldn’t be any more different. One’s a self-absorbed playboy who turns to Annie only when his other gal pals aren’t available, the other an awkward, nice-guy cop interested in more than Annie’s busted taillights.
But “Bridesmaids” truly belongs in every way to Wiig, who makes sad-sack Annie believable, relate-able and loveable, even when she seems to be having trouble finding anything to love---or love about---herself. She’s a comedic goldmine.
It’s difficult to imagine almost any group of girlfriends NOT wanting to make “Bridesmaids” a movie-night outing. And there’s plenty for guys to like, too, so fellas, don’t be afraid---you might even learn a thing or two.
Romantic comedies are notoriously hit-and-miss, but this one’s a bulls-eye. Leave the kids at home and come prepared for a rippingly funny, laugh-out-loud cascade of fem-centric riffs on love, friendship and a time-honored ritual that, when everything goes right, ends with “I do.”