Bridesmaids - 19th May 2011

I am horribly aware how behind the times I am, not only with this review but with the blog as a whole and I really should get caught up and stay caught up but, you know, life, music and baseball have all got in the way of me not watching movies, I have watched tons but WRITING about them.

This is a situation I hope to again address with yet another mammoth catch up session over the next couple of weeks. Then, I promise, I am going to try and stay on top of this blog.

So, casting my mind back a month and a half, what did I think of Bridesmaids? Well, firstly let me say something:
There have been, since this film came out a whole heap of articles about 'can Women do raunchy comedy?' or 'Should Women do raunchy comedy?' all focussing on the feminist/sexist angle of gross-out/raunchy comedies. Well, the mere existence of these articles questioning anything to do with this film from a gender angle is ridiculous sexism. The only thing under debate about this film should be is it funny or not, does it work or not and is the acting any good. So that's what I am going to focus on, any comment about 'is this the women's Hangover' is about as relevant, after you've seen the film, as asking 'is the Hangover the Bachelor Party for the new millennium'.

Ok so with that out of the way... I have been waiting and may have even said in this blog once or twice, for Kristen Wiig to finally be in a good film. All these films I have been going to hoping for her to shine bright like she does on SNL and each time being woefully annoyed at how average all her roles have been, her excellent cameo in Knocked Up not withstanding. Well here is her own script shepherded to the screen, not as an SNL vehicle with Lorne Michaels at the wheel but by Mr. Movie Comedy New Wave himself, Judd Apatow.
On the plus side this means that it will be seen by a shed load of people and make lots of moola but on the downside it means we are treated to needlessly disgusting scenes of vomiting and deification, over the top sex scenes and repetitive gags surrounded by a handful of his favourite rom-com cliches that, at this point, make me yawn.

Bridesmaids starts brilliantly, some great subtle acting by Wiig and some spot on observational comedy along with the odd weird character and some beautifully awkward set ups.
This does continue throughout the film but unfortunately a great little clever, female perspective buddy comedy, character study of a story gets trampled all over by Apatow's less than fancy footwork. There is a great little film hiding behind all the see-it-coming-from-a-mile-off childish poo gags and irritatingly broad and unlikely characters having unrealistic conversations.
This 'throw everything and the kitchen sink' approach to reworking the original idea leads to one of the most annoying things in the film for me and that is the way that, after a sweet, funny and well performed beginning scene with the two friends, Maya Rudolph's character then switches gears completely to facilitate the introduction of her 'new' best friend and rival to Wiig simply to add yet another irritating comedy cliche (in this case also badly played by the actress in question) to this meal of a film that was slowly becoming a very messy stew.

Deep down this is a good solid and funny film about female friendship in the face of a marriage which leaves one of them alone, about trying to start your life again as a woman reaching her 40s and with a nice underlying farce of nothing going right for the maid of honour in the lead up to the nuptials. When these elements peak out from behind the  hem of Apatow's shit stained apron I was interested in the film again.

Now before I get accused of being too highbrow and before someone just says 'well really you're against women doing raunchy or gross out comedy' let me be clear, I am saying these things about the film because it's what I observed, I saw the potential for what I would've thought was a better film, the film I think the original two writers intended, it's my particular taste and because the gross out stuff, and this is crucial, simply wasn't funny.
Had it been funny then that would've been completely fine but instead it goes from 'oh no please don't' cringe inducing predictable farce through graphic and embarrassing depiction's of regrettable bodily functions to the whole, now infamous, scene climaxing with Maya Rudolph, who I've always loved as an actress, acting out a scene where a soon to be married, normally happy woman is forced to soil the incredibly expensive wedding dress she is wearing in the middle of a busy road.
I, honestly, and call me overly sensitive, wasn't laughing, I just felt sorry for her.
Despite the enthusiastic howls that greeted the scene from the other patrons in the cinema.

I hate to even bring up the scene because apart from the gender angle it's all people are talking about it seems and that's A) a shame because the film is better than that and B) probably the whole point of having the scene in the film in the first place.
Like the male nudity in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Walk Hard (although the former was at least pertinent to the story - the reprise at the end, however, was not), or the dilating vagina scene in Knocked Up, it's a talking point, a hook for people to write about, a clever marketing ploy and also a chance to see just how far you can go in a mainstream comedy. Any of that sound funny to you?

I am not being down on Apatow for all his films, although I do think like his former leading man Seth Rogan he may have run his course with all this, I just think with Bridesmaids he should've maybe either left it well alone or tried to make something a bit more intelligent, touching, quirky and interesting because the framework and the talent was there.

So although this was close it was still a case of no cigar for me when it comes to Kristen Wiig who I think is good enough to either have a career as a female Peter Sellers, if the script was right, doing multiple funny and carefully drawn character parts or as a female Ricky Gervais with the everyday down trodden awkwardness, which is what she is aiming for, I think, with Bridesmaids.

Still they made their money so who cares right?

6 out of 10 unfortunately off Brazilian meals
Points from the Wife - 6 out of 10.

Children of Men - 28th May 2011

For Your Eyes Only - 18th May 2011