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Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Bridesmaids

Directed by: Paul Feig

Produced by: Judd Apatow
Barry Mendel
Clayton Townsend

Screenplay by: Annie Mumolo
Kristen Wiig

Starring: Kristen Wiig
Maya Rudolph
Rose Byrne
Wendi McLendon-Covey
Ellie Kemper
Melissa McCarthy
Chris O'Dowd

Music by: Michael Andrews

Cinematography by: Robert D. Yeoman

Editing by: William Kerr
Michael L. Sale

Studio(s): Universal Pictures
Relativity Media
Apatow Productions

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Release date(s): May 13, 2011 (United States)
June 24, 2011 (United Kingdom)

Running time: 125 minutes

Country: United States

Language: English

Budget: $32.5 million

Gross revenue (as of publication): $191, 174,000



Hey folks, The Thin White Dude here. No real updates from the outside world for the past few days. I haven't really been doing much, although I did get to see Tron for the first time last night. Visually, it's stunning, Jeff Bridges is always a great and charismatic screen presence, but honestly, it can be boring and overwhelming, to the point where I spent large sections just looking at the visuals in the background and opposed to the characters in the foreground. The big elephant in the room is that later on today I will be going to see Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. For those of you who don't remember or don't follow the blog, I declared the previous Transformers (which I refer to as The Robot Movie, for it doesn't deserve to be known under it's title) the flat-out worst movie of 2009, and Michael Bay has two years in a row been one of my Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse. I am going to try and go in with an open mind, but if I'm being honest, things aren't looking up.

Today's film for review is Bridesmaids. To put the work in a bit of context, it was written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, and stars Wiig as Annie, the maid of honour for Lillian's (Maya Rudolph) wedding, leading up a troop of bridesmaids that includes the slightly jealous and competitive Helen (Rose Byrne), bitter and cynical mother Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), idealistic and happy newlywed Becca (Ellie Kemper) and unashamedly blunt and forthright Megan (Melissa McCarthy). Of course, as goes these comedies (deliberate grammar gaffs in case you grammar freaks hold me up on that), during the process of setting up the wedding, all manner of things happen with, you know it, 'hilarious consequences.' Good critical reviews in comparison to the Sex And The City film's made me go in with a relatively open heart. That said, I was partially ambiguous, because the last time the critics latched onto a comedy like this the movie was The Hangover, and the last 'comedy' I saw Wiig and Rudolph star in was MacGruber, so there was also part of me holding back.

To start with what is good about the film, I must point out the acting because there are a number of very good performances. Kristen Wiig delivers a real star-maker of a turn as Annie. Having wrote the character, she clearly knows her very well, but Wiig takes her theoretical knowledge of the character and plies it practically into delivering a great performance. She really nails the various dimensions of the character. At once charming and endearing, Wiig is able to skilfully reveal Annie's flaws without losing any of her charm. It truly is a fine performance, and perhaps the best I have seen full-stop so far from this year. Also good in a supporting capacity is Maya Rudolph, who, although not having as much screen time as her Bridesmaids, gives depth to the character of Lillian. Her role would be the equivalent of the often-absent Doug in The Hangover films, but it is through Rudolph's skill that we get to know this character. Subtle brilliance is to be found in the performance that Rose Byrne gives as Helen. The competitive nature that she possesses towards Annie is revealed is glances and smiles, and as such the character's nature and it's projection relies much on Byrne's performance. However, like her fellows Bridesmaids, she is a fully-rounded character, something that can also be attributed the strength of the script, and Byrne conveys that with conviction. On the other end of the spectrum, this film's equivalent Zach Galifianakis is to be found in Melissa McCarthy's borderline boorishness as Megan. Providing a lot of scene-stealing laughs and nigh-on perfect comic delivery, this, along with the aformented performances, proves Bridesmaids as a high watermark for female acting. On the male side, good bit-parts are to be found in Matt Lucas and Jon Hamm. I would like to point the wonderful Chris O'Dowd as Officer Rhodes. He too is a really solid comic creation, but also possesses a tenderness and a good heart that embodies all that is good about this film. These strong characters and their complementing dialogue can be attributed to Wiig and Mumolo's fine script, which really is a fine slap/wake-up call to the scribes of film's such as The Hangover and Sex And The City. On the one hand, it shows that there can be such a thing as good 'women's pictures', although I usually refrain from using the term, as it, along with the film's under the label, usually alienate it's male audience. On the other, it is easily as smutty as The Hangover and in many ways flips those guys the bird and says "screw you, we can outdo that!"

Bridesmaids is an all-round pretty solid movie. However, by no means is a perfect comedy. The script is for the most part great. There are occasions in which the gags are stretched out too-long and feel more like sketches as opposed to part of a feature-length film. Also, it suffers from a recent tendency in a lot of comedies of being too long as a whole. I personally feel that this could well have been been trimmed by about fifteen minutes. Also, despite being in many ways an innovative comedy, in others it is very nuts-and-bolts, and does feel like I have seen it all before. There was this feeling of deja vu as I watched the film, as you get from much of the Judd Apatow stable of comedies.

Despite these issues, and they are ones that do genuinely annoy and feel like a thorn in my side, Bridesmaids is a great comedy. The script, although occasionally problematic, is full of really strong, fully-rounded characters, and a number of gags and things that happen in the film are genuinely funny. Furthermore, it boasts terrific acting, particularly from Kristen Wiig as Annie, but also Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy and Chris O'Dowd. I don't think, even in the bit-parts, there is a single bad performance. I really enjoyed Bridesmaids and would sincerely encourage people to go and see it, as it is a comedy that seems to appeal both to highbrow and lowbrow humour. A really solid film that everyone can enjoy, as it caters towards females without alienating the male audience.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 8.0/10

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Very well (despite being awake pretty early today)

P.S. Wish me luck for Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

P.P.S. Wish me luck also: I am considering re-watching Marley and Me in the wake of getting a dog and my reaction to the puppies in this movie, as I am worried I'm going soft

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