Summer Blockbuster Friday #16: ‘Bridesmaids (2011)’- Throwback Review

Before Bridesmaids came out ten years ago, it was kind of hard to think of enjoyable female ensemble comedies that are well-liked by the public. There have been favorites from A League of Their OwnMean Girls, or, if we’re being desperate, Sex and the City, to think of at the top of my head, but it’s very fair to say this will always be remembered as one that became an instant classic that’s way more than being labeled as another “chick flick.”

What’s the Story: Annie (Kristen Wiig) is a single woman whose own life is a mess, but when she learns that her lifelong best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), is engaged, she has no choice but to serve as the maid of honor. Though lovelorn and almost penniless, Annie, nevertheless, winds her way through the strange and expensive rituals associated with her job as the bride’s go-to gal. Determined to make things perfect, she gamely leads Lillian and the other bridesmaids down the wild road to the wedding.

Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kristen Wiig, and Ellie Kemper in Bridesmaids (2011)

The overall year of 2011 had many movies that surprised me and everyone else. But right when Bridesmaids was preparing to be released, I can’t say I thought it looked promising, which can also be said with most comedies coming out today. Comedies centered on weddings haven’t but that much when my initial thoughts were thinking this would have unfunny jokes and have a story that wouldn’t have any attachment. I saw it after staying after school for choir and after my sister said positive things about it. Was it going to be a waste of a Thursday afternoon? I was completely wrong, as I couldn’t believe I loved watching a definite hit.

At first glance, this can be easy to assume this was going to be a failed attempt to be a copy of The Hangover, I have to hand it to director Paul Feig and producer Judd Apatow’s touch to tackle the side of the bridesmaids before the proceeding events of the wedding that probably haven’t explored in a way that could not go in a right direction for someone to find this relatable. But the debut screenplay from Wiig and Groundlings pal/friend Annie Mumolo, who’ve talked about this premise a few years prior, rides that sense of somebody nervous to take on the responsibilities of the maid of honor while figuring out what life has for them.

But to get everything to with the directing and writing, this requires a great ensemble of actresses to play off each other to perfection, and there’s no issue here. Kristen Wiig takes on her first leading role as Annie after being notable in supporting roles in the past. I’ve always thought she was talented on her run on Saturday Night Live, so it wasn’t a big secret she owned her scenes and make us care for her character’s trials. She also shines with her co-Star Maya Rudolph, and you honestly believe their on-screen friendship. The other bridesmaids get their chance to show themselves off. From Rose Byrne’s Helen, who’s like that popular girl in high school that wants to be a show-off and becomes Annie’s rival throughout; Ellie Kemper’s newlywed Becca, this lovable princess-like friend, or Wendi McLendon-Covey’s Rita, a mother who needs some freedom out of the house adds to their personalities.

Yet, the true stand out from everybody else goes to Melissa McCarthy as Megan, the groom’s sister and Lillian’s soon-to-be sister-in-law. This was the movie that made her the megastar she is now. She popped up in movies and television shows (Gilmore GirlsMike and Molly) here and there, but this is a performance that made a good impression on everyone. Playing the loud big girl, McCarthy works surprisingly well in how unpredictable and confident she came across. All you expect from her is to steal every moment when the opportunity comes, which is why any movie with her and Feig doesn’t fail.

Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kristen Wiig, and Ellie Kemper in Bridesmaids (2011)

To become a hit, it has to make you laugh when you least expected it. Thankfully, everyone will agree it’s memorable after you watch it. Sometimes raunchy humor can be passible if attended to be funny on paper, unlike something like The Sweetest Thing that missed the mark. Bridesmaids has funny moments it will not embarrass guys to laugh at because the scenes just go in a direction that still drives the plot along. It would be impossible not to find the food poisoning while at a dress fitting scene funny (unless you find it unnecessary), the cringe back-to-back toasts from Annie and Helen, the plane trip to Vegas, or the bridal shower that goes wrong. That’s another reason the cast works off the script, along with the dialogue that I’m pretty sure they improvised most of it and where you have scenes of how women would talk realistically, which is what Feig and company have planned out.

Beneath everything this puts on the table, this gives the viewer, whether male or female, to understand Annie’s place. While it’s amazing to know your best friend will start a new life, it can be a sure thing to wonder what life will throw at you. The most important aspect to take away from this is friendship, female friendship to be exact, and snags better to bond with friends with a comedy representing that clear as day? If there were any flaws it carries on its shoulders, I can sort or see how certain people won’t find all the jokes working, and it’s about two hours and it should’ve cut down 15 minutes, just to be safe.

None of us could’ve predicted this to be the funniest movie of the summer, let alone have better reception than The Hangover Part II in the same month. With its positive critical response and becoming Apatow’s highest-grossing film he has produced, it’s a rare feat in the genre to score two Academy Award nominations: Best Supporting Actress for McCarthy and Best Original Screenplay. And to speak the truth, why wasn’t it nominated for Best Picture, huh? The popularity also was enough for studios to put out more female comedies. Overall, it’s just a funny movie with a bunch of funny women and has every right to be a classic.

Final Thoughts: Bridesmaids remain hilarious a decade later. A film like this isn’t just made for a female audience; it’s for anybody who appreciates a laugh every five minutes. Outrageous, broad, and smartly written than I thought, you must be dead inside for not finding enjoyment while watching. Not only one of the best of 2011, but one of the greatest modern comedies of the last decade.

Grade: A-

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