Kristen Wiig hits her wild comic stride.


Bridesmaids is a chick flick in the way that a Rolls-Royce is a ride. True, the movie is focused on female concerns. But it's also a Judd Apatow production, directed by Apatow's old Freaks and Geeks colleague, Paul Feig, and starring Apatow veteran Kristen Wiig, who also cowrote the script. So while a vein of sweet feeling runs through it, the movie's distinguishing feature is its grenade-like blasts of breathtaking raunch. Reflecting on an ex-husband's new squeeze, one character says, "She's still a whore. I'm sure she greets him in the evening beaver-first." Another describes what life is like with teenage sons: "There's semen all over everything—I cracked a blanket in half." You'll notice that Kate Hudson was not invited to participate in this picture.

Wiig, so long a fixture on Saturday Night Live, makes a persuasive claim to movie stardom here. She plays Annie, a woman edging into her late thirties with little to show for her life to date. Annie once had her own business, a specialty cake shop; when it went under she lost all her money and, shortly thereafter, her last loser boyfriend. Now she's back to sharing an apartment with an obnoxious roommate (Matt Lucas) and his annoyingly ever-present fat sister (slobalicious Rebel Wilson). Her love life consists of demeaning hookups with a slick creep (Jon Hamm must do more comedy) for whom she's a third-tier booty call. And she's been reduced to working in a jewelry store, where she struggles, often unsuccessfully, to stifle nasty wisecracks about the engagement rings she has to sell.

When her lifelong best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) suddenly becomes engaged, it throws Annie's dead-end life into stark relief. She gratefully agrees to be Lillian's maid of honor; but then a new friend of Lillian's moves in on the big event—rich, beautiful, hyper-organized Helen (Rose Byrne)—and Annie is slowly edged out of her key nuptial role. A series of head-butting confrontations ensues—among them a bout of snarling champagne toasts at Lillian's engagement party—on the way to the climactic Annie-Helen showdown you know must ultimately come.

This being a romantic comedy (although in the tart manner of such Apatow productions as Forgetting Sarah Marshall), predictability is part of the conceptual furniture. The story's love interest arrives right on cue in the unlikely form of a cop—an Irish one at that—named Rhodes (cuddly Chris O'Dowd, of The IT Crowd). Rhodes pulls Annie over for a busted taillight one night and is immediately smitten. He is of course the perfect guy for her, but Annie is too distracted by the disasters in her life to realize it at first. As might go without saying, she eventually does.

The Apatowian sweet-and-scabrous comedy template is no longer quite as fresh as it once was, but it's still a sturdy armature for the mostly terrific gags cooked up here by Wiig and cowriter Annie Mumolo (who scores in a brief appearance as a panicky airline passenger). Wiig is an exceptional comic actress—she always seems to be debating what she's about to say before she makes the mistake of saying it—and her scenes with Hamm are mercilessly funny, as is her extended bridal-shower meltdown, a model of escalating hysteria. There's also a set-piece sequence involving volcanic barfing (and much, much worse) that's appalling in the most wonderful possible way. All of this is enhanced by the top-flight cast—especially loose-cannon bridesmaids Melissa McCarthy and Wendi McLendon-Covey—who dive into the wild material with unflagging gusto.

Women may resonate most strongly with the movie's slashing girl-on-girl candor, but the laughs here aren't gender-coded. And Wiig's Annie is an all-ages emblem of social unease, a perpetual victim of the cruelty of cooler people. Who can't relate?

Kurt Loder is a writer living in New York. His third book, a collection of film reviews called The Good, the Bad and the Godawful, will be published in November by St. Martin's Press.

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  1. grenade-like blasts of breathtaking raunch. Reflecting on an ex-husband’s new squeeze, one character says, “She’s still a whore. I’m sure she greets him in the evening beaver-first.” Another describes what life is like with teenage sons: “There’s semen all over everything?I cracked a blanket in half.”

    That’s “breathtaking” raunch? Kurt needs to watch more South Park or Strangers With Candy. Or even just Always Sunny.

    1. It’s breathtaking that female characters, written by female writers, were allowed to express that level of raunch.

      1. “were allowed to”?

        1. “Allowed”, yes, by the production companies who had to approve the project.

      2. It is also astonishing how you westerners dress your women.

        1. We don’t dress them – they do that for themselves. Our only contribution to the process is to re-assure them that any particular article of clothing they choose does not make them look fat, regardless of whether or not it actually does. 🙂

        2. It is astonishing that you earthlings allow your women to dress.

        3. I like my women slutty – or at least have the appearance of said sluttiness. Who wants to stair at a black Hajib all day?

          1. er, stare

  2. Eat a shit fucking sandwich, Judd, for making Seth Rogan, Russell Brand, and Jonah Hill household names.

    1. Eat a shit fucking sandwich, Judd, for making Judd Apatow a household name.

      1. Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Knocked up were two of the unfunniest movies I’ve ever seen. At least until I saw The Hangover. My level of antipathy towards that movie makes me actively dislike people who did like it.

        1. I know exactly how you feel, though I am far smarter than you and only saw The Hangover. Protip: don’t go see the second one.

          And just for the record, The Hangover isn’t an Apatow film, which is why I was dumb enough to go see it; but your point still stands.

          1. The dentist was so drunk he pulled his own tooth out! OMG, there’s a tiger in the bathroom!! HA HA HA HA! It’s the funniest movie ever, YOU HAVE TO SEE IT.

            Jesus fucking christ, I really hate people.

            1. It warms my heart to see people hating on that movie. I saw only the preview and was offended by its lameness.

            2. Seriously. I’m the only one in my group of friends who thought that movie was painfully unfunny.

              Man, that is weird that a lot of us think this way about a very popular film. I wonder if the Libertarian Virus also somehow affects our sense of humor?

            3. I thought it was funny. But then, when it comes to comedies, I’m easy to please. I consider it a personal virtue that I’m so easily made to laugh.

              That said, shortly after ‘Hangover’ was released, another, lesser-known film was released called ‘The Goods: Live Fast, Sell Hard’, which I thought was funnier. Highly recommended, if you haven’t seen it.

              1. The Goods was insanely hilarious, I don’t think I stopped laughing through the entire thing. Regarding The Hangover, like some of those above I was sufficiently turned off by the preview that I never bothered.

        2. There is a vanishingly tiny remnant of people in their 20’s and 30’s who didn’t like the Hangover. It has become a useful way to determine if someone has any taste. But fuck me, I already alienate my friends enough with my galling refusal to spout the Team Blue talking points. If some non-shitty movies could get popular, it would make finding neutral smalltalk topics a whole lot easier.

          1. finding neutral smalltalk topics a whole lot easier.

            I blame globalwarmingclimatechange for politicizing the weather.

            1. That is actually a serious annoyance. Totally fucked up.

              1. Come on guys, really? Let’s be serious.

        3. A favorite test of mine from a few years ago was: Which did you like better Anchorman or The 40 Year Old Virgin?

          1. Am I missing the point, or is the right answer “both sucked”? That would be my answer.

            1. A question that the Reasonati should have answered right away, but instead, newcomer RealJim got it right. To be fair, I was answering 40 yr old virgin at the time I formulated this question. But that was because everyone else thought anchorman was the funniest movie ever, which it was not.

  3. Let me just say that the chick who plays the receptionist on The Office (and is in this movie) is just cute as all get-out.

    1. yes, Pam’s upgrade is smoking

      1. …annoying as hell. But so is the show. It’s been on a death glide for 4 years. Just stop already.

        1. Shrute needs to go postal and end it. Take out Jim first the next time he says “wow.”

          1. He shot Andy last night.

          2. Wow, c’mon, really guys? Let’s be serious.

    2. I’ve tried in vain to like The Office, but I just can’t accept perpetual/forced awkardness for comedy. OTOH, Stanley is pretty funny most of the time.

      I guess I prefer my comedy in an easier to swallow Venture Brothers format. That and Classic Simpsons.

  4. But it’s also a Judd Apatow production

    Stop. Right. There.

  5. Any topless scenes?

  6. Wiig, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolf, Amy Poehler – all sexy women.

    Yeah, I know, conservatives don’t get it.

    1. *volcanic-barf*

    2. Wiig, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolf, Amy Poehler – all sexy women.

      YOU LIE!!!!!!

    3. I saw porn where someone who looked just like Wiig was getting pounded in the ass and ever since then I have had a little bit of a thing for her, but only because of that. As far as the rest of them, I guess I’m a consevative

    4. Do you wear your testicles on the outside of your pants to make them easier to kick? Just wondering.

    5. I used to have a perpetual hard-on for Tina Fey back in her SNL Weekend Update days, but her 30 Rock snipes at those with fiscally responsible views started to grate on me. This coalesced the other week when she called out Stossel as the worst show on television and I still don’t know what to make of it. Seriously, Stossel is calling for less money for the war machine liberals are supposed to hate(Truth is, they couldn’t give a fuck about it) then the Glenn Becks and Fox and Friends of the world, and they had to attack his show. It would have been funnier if she attacked something that seems to be universally loved like Glee or Ultimate Fighting (I think they both suck). To paraphase Team America, Tina, you’re skills have faded with age.

      Also, I miss Upright Citizens Brigade where Amy’s true comedic talent was showcased. Saturday Night Live is where talent goes to become mediocre as skim milk (and rich as hell…).

    6. Yeah, conservatives don’t get why a repulsive-looking chipmunk-creature like Maya Rudolph is considered “sexy.”

  7. Didn’t know Wiig was on SNL (because its unwatchable), but she was good in Extract.

    On the Kate Hudson front, putting her in a movie is a sure-fire way of making it suck. Glad Kurt noted she is not in the movie.

    1. I thought Extract was underrated in general, and yeah Wiig was quite good in it.

      I’ll go see this one with the girlfriend probably. I’m no Apatow fanboy, but the obsessive hate (see Solanum, et al above) mystifies me. These are pop comedies people, chill out.

      1. I think my dislike for Apatow partially stems from the obsessive love so many people have for Apatow, many of whom insist I share that love. I’ve had friends literally become indignant with me because I didn’t find Superbad to be spectacularly hilarious.

        1. Superbad was sheer crap. The most pathetic aspect of Apatow’s work is that it’s nothing more than goony nerd wish-fullfillment. Even in Freaks and Geeks, which is the only project of his where he tries to treat his subjects like real people, you see dumb nonsense like the main nerd, a freshman no less, dating a member of the cheerleading squad. All of his films do nothing except legitimize emotionally underdeveloped behavior.

          1. Not to defend Apatow, but he bagged a pretty hot woman himself and made a shit-ton of money on the side. Maybe he always uses the nerd wish fufillment story-framing because it essentially happened to him. Eh, don’t know, don’t care.

            1. Leslie Mann is pretty nice looking, but my perspective on their marriage really changed when I found out that it’s a lot like the one she and Paul Rudd had in Knocked Up. I don’t care how hot a chick is, no pussy is worth being treated like a brain-dead sack of shit all the time.

        2. Yeah, fair enough — like I said, I don’t impart Apatow with any special powers, he’s just a dude making comedies. I guess I just think that the best response to unreasonable vitriol is apathy, not more vitriol in the opposite direction.

    2. Wiig is alternately at times the most annoying or the funniest character on SNL

      1. She’s the female Bill Hader?

    3. Wiig was the cause of much of that unwatchability

      1. SNL has been unwatchable for 15 years or more.

    4. I wish Kate Hudson would suck me, even if she is preggo that would make it even hotter.

  8. Just started watching Freaks & Geeks on DVD. Best teen drama/comedy/anything ever (sorry John Hughes).

    I don’t mind Judd Apatow’s movies but he should produce better stuff given his obvious talent. I don’t understand how Paul Feig hasn’t written anything since Freaks & Geeks either.

    Hollywood does division of labour brilliantly for most vocations (technical, cinematography, costume, set design) but ruins it all by allowing writers, directors and actors to think they can do other each others jobs (Aaron Sorkin acting in Social Network, why?). The exception that (doesn’t) prove the rule: Clint Eastwood.

  9. Apatowian

    The mere existence of that word makes me fear for western civilization.

  10. Wow, thats pretty neat whjen you think about it.

    1. SpamBot, you are a genius.

  11. I’m pretty sure there exists a movie Loder doesn’t like, I’m just having trouble thinking how bad it must to get a thumbs down from him. Has he panned anything here?

    1. Oh sure, he dogs on films all the time. The first that comes to mind is that recent Depp/Jolie film from a couple months ago, whatever it was called.

    2. I think he also panned “Little Red Riding Hood” (or whatever the fuck it was called), and “Sucker Punch”. That’s off the top of my head, in the last couple of months.

      1. I thought he said Suckerpunch was pretty good.

        1. there’s really not a lot about which to complain.

          That was about Suckerpunch, which doesn’t sound like a panning. I didn’t look up the other ones, but LRRH is pretty low hanging fruit.

          1. I stand corrected, I thought I remembered that he didn’t like “SuckerPunch”. Maybe he is too easy to please.

    3. As far as Hollywood fare goes, about 95% (am I being too kind?) of their output is not worth watching. At all.

      I would rather watched undubbed Bollywood than the excrement that comes from the American studios.

      The H-K, Taiwanese can still put out a good movie and I’ve seen a few modern European films that can still get to me.

  12. Hey guys, guess which one of those girls I look like ?

    1. the fat sister?

    2. hahahaha… rather made a funny!

  13. I thought Heavyweights was funny.

    I was also 12 at the time.

    1. A fun thing to do is look up Ben Stiller on imdb and name the three best movies he’s been in. Heavyweights is a contender.

  14. Rhodes pulls Annie over for a busted taillight one night and is immediately smitten. He is of course the perfect guy for her, but Annie is too distracted by the disasters in her life to realize it at first. As might go without saying, she eventually does.

    Does anyone else think this is a super creepy way to meet women?

  15. Rose Byrne.

  16. Jesus Christ! I cannot believe that this is the best can come with for movie reviews. I’m not even going to waste my time reading about this kind of trash cinema!!!!!

    1. Is this a “drink”? It’s dangerous close to “For a magazine called reason…”. Fuck it, I’m going to drink.

  17. There are plenty of other prom dresses to getting your prom dress online, which include prom dresses, prom dresses, Plus-size prom dresses,you dont have to go out to find the discount prom dress ? you can wait for the prom dress and wedding dresses, quinceanera dresses quinceanera dresses to come to you.

  18. There are plenty of other prom dresses to getting your prom dress online, which include prom dresses, prom dresses, Plus-size prom dresses,you dont have to go out to find the discount prom dress ? you can wait for the prom dress and wedding dresses, quinceanera dresses quinceanera dresses to come to you.

  19. Watched the trailer. Looks like an awful, awful movie.

  20. I wonder if the Libertarian Virus also somehow affects our sense of humor?

    Well, honestly, some Libertarians can be a little hipsterish when it comes to stuff like this. “My favorite movie’s really obscure. You’ve probably never seen it.” Liberals are smug, conservatives are earnest, libertarians are superior.

    I’m a fairly reliable Libertarian and I’m a comedy slut – it’s really, really easy to make me laugh. So the gay Asian bad guy in Hangover made me laugh. Sarah Marshall made me laugh. Parts of Knocked Up made me laugh. I mean, I could see the strings they were pulling to make me laugh, I knew I was being manipulated, but I laughed anyway.

    The girls and I don’t do a lot of chick flicks – we’re north of forty now, and we’re more into SF/fantasy and hardbodies blowing shit up — but this sounds like something we need to see in the theater. With champagne splits smuggled in our purses, of course.

    Was Apatow involved with Pineapple Express? That one made me laugh a lot too.

    1. Libertarians only like comedy from Parker, Stone, and Judge. NTTAWWT.

      1. This libertarian prefers classic cinema, and spends too much time watching TCM.

    2. All libertarians have to agree everybody has different tastes. Their entitled to like something even if it does suck. Oh by the way I hate hipsters, I don’t care if their Heavy Metal hipsters, libertarian hipsters etc. Some of this discussion smacks of hipsterism. However I thought “Super Bad” was super bad in awful, how many times can you repeat fuck to get a cheap laugh, not against profanity but when your just doing it to get yucks your pretty desperate.

    3. “Liberals are smug, conservatives are earnest, libertarians are superior…”

      what’s the political bent of those who are earnestly superior?

      1. Socialist Reactionaries.

  21. the woman in ball gown wedding dresses looks pretty.

    1. Lame spammer is lame. (But at least either human or a bot smart enough to be very mildly content-aware, which puts it a notch above most of our local trolls.)

  22. To be fair, you could name any mainstream movie that’s considered good, and many of you guys would probably trash it. After all, libertarians hate the children and old people. LOLOLOL.

    I like Appatow’s movies. Are they perfect? God, fuck no, but they’re good.

    I’ve still got a mental perma-erection for Reese Witherspoon in Election and Cruel Intentions. I don’t know why – it should have worn off by now.

    1. More than four hours, and you’re supposed to see a doctor.

  23. The Apatowian sweet-and-scabrous comedy template is no longer quite as fresh as it once was . . .

    I don’t think it was ever fresh.

  24. conceptual furniture… sturdy armature… vein of sweet…

    Kurt, I always love your little quips.

  25. Bridesmaids is pretty funny. But I agree, if you think the Hangover wasn’t funny, then move along.

    FWIW, I’ve always been puzzled by the folks that enjoy the “Jackass” sense of humor. I was at a party where folks watched Jackass 2, was puzzled at how much people were literally falling over laughing.

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