Film review: BridesmaidsBy Kim Francis
June 29, 2011
Don’t be put off by the film’s title or poster.
Rather than being a formulaic, instantly forgettable, eye-rollingly awful ‘chick flick’, Bridesmaids is a fresh and fabulous laugh riot.
It’s also perhaps one of the most important films of recent years with regard to its portrayal of women, addressing as it does the glaring imbalance between the sexes in Hollywood movies.
The premise doesn’t sound all that ground-breaking – thirty-something singleton Annie (Kristen Wiig) is due to be maid of honour for her longstanding best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) and becomes embroiled in a bitter rivalry with a fellow bridesmaid – Maya’s new and seemingly-perfect friend Helen (Rose Byrne).
Both try to out-do one another to win the affection of the bride and clinch the honour of favourite friend.
The other bridesmaids complete a mismatched gang of ladies, pulled together from all areas of Lillian’s life.
As the wedding draws nearer, trouble crescendos both in Annie’s increasingly strained relationship with Lillian and the other women – and also in her personal life.
So far, so standard. But it’s the way in which the female characters are drawn and the way in which the female actors are permitted to behave on screen that marks this movie out as the work of trailblazing brilliance that it is.
We are often fed the line that women aren’t funny. Comedy especially is a very male-dominated genre but here – from one of the most sexist arenas of all (Hollywood) – is a picture that shows real women as sharp, funny, intelligent, just a little bit silly and sometimes quite brazen.
The film busts apart the tired, offensive stereotypes that films featuring this type of comedy often perpetuate; think of male-orientated comedies like Knocked Up and Get Him to the Greek and Todd Phillips films such as The Hangover and its recent sequel.
They frequently position women as underdeveloped, two-dimensional characters – or worse.
Bridesmaids dismisses the woman as sex object and woman as bore/killjoy/nag stereotypes to deliver sparky, funny, real women who are very appealing.
In fact, women in the audience will spot similarities between the women on screen and their own friendships, heightening the comedy through recognition and identification.
But it’s not just for women. Funny’s funny and Bridesmaids will have you laughing even if you’re of the male persuasion.
Irish funnyman Chris O’Dowd continues to make his mark in Hollywood with a role as the love interest – and he’s extremely likeable as the spurned cop desperate to win Kristen Wiig over, while Mad Men’s Jon Hamm relishes the chance to be the villain of the piece – albeit as the stereotypical cad.
A smart female writer getting her own back maybe? Whatever, Bridesmaids is the ultimate feel-good movie for girls and guys and is a feather in the cap for women everywhere.