Review: 'Bridesmaids' Tries to Marry Raunchy Spectacle and Romantic Comedy

Review: Kristin Wiig is worth watching, but "Bridesmaids" is bipolar.

May 13, 2011, 5:30 AM

May 13, 2011 — -- I don't want to see a bride-to-be defecate into a wedding dress in the middle of a street. It stands to reason that a lot of movie-goers don't either.

"Bridesmaids," in theaters today, is full of laugh-out-loud moments. The "aww"-inducing interludes are well played. But what lingers are the over-the-top, at times grotesque scenes that seem to go on at least five minutes too long and can provoke the kind of eye-covering and cringing usually reserved for films that are not romantic comedies.

The premise: Single, broke, and barely employed Annie (Kristen Wiig) is asked to be the maid of honor for the wedding of her childhood best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph). Annie butts heads with Helen (Rose Byrne), a fellow bridesmaid and a Stepford Wife spawn who wears a full-length ballroom gown to Lillian's engagement party. Chaos ensues.

There's the battle of who can give the best toast at the engagement affair, in which Annie and Helen grab the mic out of each other's hands no less than eight times. There's the aforementioned defecation scene, which follows the bridal party experiencing the most poignant moments of food poisoning at an upscale bridal salon.

There's the Las Vegas bachelorette party, which ends before it starts because Annie has a prescription drug-fueled psychotic episode on the flight that forces the entire group to be escorted off the plane by an air marshal. And just when it seems Annie can't get more insane, there's the bridal shower, where she goes ballistic and attempts to knock over a giant chocolate fondue fountain after Helen presents Lillian with a trip to Paris.

Wiig's aim is admirable. As the star and co-writer of the film, she takes the female-driven comedy to places it hasn't been before. Women have never relished raunch like this -- when Annie tells Lillian she merely had an "adult sleepover" with her hookup buddy, played by Jon Hamm, Lillian sweetly retorts, "Did you let him sleepover in your mouth?"

The banter between Wiig and Rudolph is also a welcome departure from the norm. Their "Saturday Night Live" skills shine and they channel the awesomeness of the female friendship even when Annie goes off the rails. Wiig and Rudolph one-on-one makes watching the less pleasurable parts of "Bridesmaids" worth it.

Much has been made of "Bridesmaids" being the female equivalent of "The Hangover," the 2009 hit about a bachelor party gone awry. Indeed, the movies share the same executive producer, Judd Apatow, and a similar motley crew of characters. ("Gilmore Girls" co-star Melissa McCarthy, as Megan, out-crazies Zach Galifianakis' Alan, stealing puppies, hitting on an air marshal and suggesting a "Fight Club" theme for the bridal shower. Maybe they should be in a movie together.)

To oversimplify "Bridesmaids," it's "The Hangover" meets "Sex and the City." And while Apatow's fingerprints are all over the film's in-your-face, cheaply comedic moments, the movie belongs to Wiig and her witty portrayal of wedding mania to which so many women can relate. With the exception of that gag-worthy bridal salon scene, let's hope.

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