After watching this movie, I realized that bridal movies, like any subgenre, evolve with the times. In Father of the Bride (1950, 1991), we see a father come to grips with the realization that his daughter has become an adult through the sheer torture of having to go through wedding planning. My Best Friends Wedding is from the point of view of the best friend/ex girlfriend who realizes too little too late that she is in love with her best friend and wild hijinks ensue to put a stop to his impending nuptials. And The Wedding Singer is about the 1980's wedding industry's workers and their love lives which don't always add up (see my other review).
Four Weddings and a Funeral, My Big, Fat Greek Wedding, Muriel's Wedding, and My Best Friend's Wedding
That being said, the 90's are over, and the last ten years have brought us Wedding Crashers, The Hangover, Bride Wars, and 27 Dresses to name a few. The new generation has decided to take a different spin on the story, and more often than not it involves facing the ugly truth. The last two movies (27 Dresses and Bride Wars) have focused more intimately on the bridal industry. Moreover, what it does to the women who are--and aren't--getting married. Like 27 Dresses, Bridesmaids is about a woman who struggles with being the Maid of Honor at her friend's wedding. It also resembles Bride Wars, because once again we have two best friends whose friendship is tested by the trials of matrimony.
Annie (Kristin Wiig) isn't there. Her roommates are incompetent and annoying, taste in men is devastating, and her recent career hit the skids so she has a job she currently loathes. Yet, she does have her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph), who, although she has a pretty good life, is not above hanging out with her childhood best friend. Then Lillian gets engaged sending up a big, red flag to Annie that her life is so far from where she would like it to be, and the girl didn't need reminding.
Guess who's getting married!?
Annie is our anti-heroine. It's another refreshing reminder to women of any age that everyone has a time (for some that lasts too long) where your life is under a rotting "construction in progress" sign, and you just have to keep working on it. She has to put up with female competition and jealousy while suffering the job of maid of honor (throughout the film she is perpetually, embarrassingly broke) when she would presumably rather be home in her sweats eating ice cream. The married bridesmaids in the film divulge information that reveals their marriages to all have problems of their own and acknowledge that even marriage isn't without its faults.
Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumolo collaborated on this film with Judd Apatow as its director. It is not without its awkward, embarrassing, and crass scenes, but Judd Apatow does a fair job of directing, and the writers sale through the rough patches of script by creating a bridesmaid smorgasbord from which to choose. Even if Annie isn't someone you can relate to, we all have that friend, and if you don't, there are the other bridesmaids. The group scenes are the best. Have to admit though, there was a certain Hangover-esque ambiance to the plane scene.
My biggest criticism is when Annie's fiery, ball of hatred towards one of the other bridesmaids comes to a breaking point, her breakdown is disappointing. Nothing about that part seemed plausible or funny, and since I felt like the audience could suspend its belief for funny, since it granted neither, the arch fell flat. More than once, Annie screws herself out of her own happiness and the overall well-being of her best friend getting married, but the last time it's just horrifying. The last half hour does provide a good jumping off point for Annie to get herself in gear and start picking up her life.
Even though the ending is a cookie cutter, there is character development and a few curve balls. I was endeared by Annie's relationship with her mother, and it was neither overdone nor under attended. When Kristin Wiig cries alone on the couch watching a movie her mother rented, I felt like we were all right there with her. I am predisposed since I have also cried while watching Castaway.
I won't be buying Bridesmaids, but for anyone who enjoys wedding movies, it is worth adding to your list.