No Holds Barred in Cutthroat Maid of Honor Competition
By Kam Williams
Sentinel Contributing Writer
Annie Walker (Kristen Wiig) has been in a tailspin since her bakery, “Cake Baby,” failed during the recession. She’s presently in danger of losing the job she got at a jewelry store after a member of her mother’s (Jill Clayburgh) support group took pity on her.
Annie’s problems at work stem from her bad habit of openly expressing her skepticism about marriage to customers shopping for engagement rings. She has good reason to be cynical, between hearing her biological clock ticking and her poor track record in relationships, including the shallow guy (John Hamm) she’s currently involved with who treats her like a doormat.
Annie is also close to being kicked out of her apartment by her roommates (Rebel Wilson and Matt Lucas) for falling behind in rent which means she might have to move back in with her mom. All of the above make it easy to understand why Annie has such mixed emotions upon being asked to be her best friend Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) Maid of Honor.
For on the one hand, she’s happy that the ecstatic bride-to-be has finally landed Doug (Tim Heidecker), the man of her dreams. On the other hand, however, the impending fairytale wedding promises to serve as a constant reminder to the thirty-something spinster that she’s not getting any younger and what an unmitigated mess her life has become.
These diverging fortunes set the stage for a boatload of laughs in Bridesmaids, a screwball comedy directed by Paul Feig. The screenplay was co-written Kristen Wiig who enjoys her best big screen outing to date courtesy of a vulnerable character displaying oodles of that trademark sarcasm we’ve witnessed in sketches on Saturday Night Live for years.
The plot thickens when the other bridesmaids are introduced, and Annie suddenly finds herself constantly in competition with Helen (Rose Byrne), the filthy-rich wife of the groom’s boss (Andy Buckley). Even though Helen hasn’t known Lillian very long, she shamelessly lobbies to replace hapless Annie as the Maid of Honor because she has the bucks, taste and class to help plan a more lavish bridal shower, bachelorette party and wedding reception.
The only other bridesmaid of consequence is Doug’s larger than life (literally and figuratively) sister, Megan, played to perfection by scene stealer Melissa McCarthy in a peerless performance. Motor-mouthed Megan intermittently provides comic relief as a constant reminder that the escalating tension between Annie and Helen shouldn’t be taken seriously, especially once the former finds herself being wooed by an Irish cop with a heart of gold (Chris O’Dowd).
An estrogen-fueled adventure featuring madcap hilarity ranging from the scatological to the sublime!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for pervasive profanity and graphic sexuality.
Running time: 125 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures