Middle Row, Centre: Wedding Day Meltdown

When I went to see Bridesmaids recently, I couldn’t help making the inevitable comparisons to Sex And The City 2, which showed locally about six months ago.

Although Bridesmaids didn’t portray its protagonists as a crew of bimbos and airheads the way the former did, it came close, and ultimately was saved by a couple of fine performances.

Bridesmaids has some good things going for it, including an ensemble cast with lots of comedy experience, assembled by director Paul Feig, whose own TV comedy credits include numerous episodes of The Office and Arrested Development.

In my limited experience with the genre, “chickflicks” really don’t do the female half of the population any favours.

Maybe it’s because the events that assume such prominence in their plots, such as weddings, fashion shows and bridal showers, just don’t take on as much significance in the lives of guys.

Or maybe it’s a deliberate strategy on the part of some (mostly male) directors to convince female cinema-goers that these are the things that matter. Or maybe men really are from Mars and women from Venus. I don’t know.

But given the fact that Bridesmaids hit Number 2 at the box office on its opening week, with $26.2 million in revenue, someone must be doing something right.

I only know that the portrayals by its principal actors could easily leave the stereotype that women are overly-emotional, argumentative and downright nasty to each other relatively intact.

The film’s basic plotline follows a group of friends as they prepare for the wedding of one of their number.

As the wedding day approaches, the bridesmaids encounter a bout of food poisoning as they celebrate at a local restaurant, as well as the major emotional meltdown of the maid of honour, their removal from a Vegas-bound jet and a bus ride back to Chicago in collective disgrace, a disastrous disruption of a wedding reception by the aforesaid maid of honour, and the termination of a number of friendships.

Guys might well say that it wouldn’t happen like that for a bunch of guys, simply because guys don’t get that wound-up about weddings and stuff. And they’d probably be right, except that we wouldn’t have the basis for comedies like this one.

Saturday Night Live stalwart Kristen Wiig (last seen as a Christian fundamentalist in the extraterrestrial spoof Paul, and who shares writing credits for Bridesmaids), plays Annie Walker, best friend to Lillian, the bride, played by Maya Rudolph, also a Saturday NightLive veteran and daughter of the late soul singer Minnie Riperton.

Lillian manages to stay mostly above the fray, as her wedding seems to plummet headlong toward disaster.

Wiig’s character, on the other hand, is the prime cause of all of the melée. She’s broke, has just had a business fail, and can’t seem to attract a guy who’s interested in her for more than her body.

Her rage at life transfers itself mostly to Helen Harris III, a wealthy socialite played by Australian actress Rose Byrne, most recently seen as the haunted housewife in the horror thriller Insidious.

When Annie perceives that Helen is taking over all of the planning for her own best friend’s wedding, she resents not only her high-handedness, but also the fact that Helen has the monetary resources behind her, while Annie is so destitute and cast adrift.

The resultant clashes make for some stormy – as well as pretty funny – moments.

Bridesmaids is enjoyable, for its over-the-top outbursts from Kirsten Wiig, for its sometimes delightfully crude humour, and for the sheer lunacy that transpires when friends fall out and weddings go awry.

It plays at 7:00 and 9:30 pm at the Qwanlin Cinema, and is rated 14A for a sexually suggestive scene and coarse language.

Brian Eaton is a cinema buff who reviews current films and writes on other film-related topics on a regular basis.

Brian Eaton is a cinema buff who reviews current films and writes on other film-related topics on a regular basis.

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