Saturday, January 28, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: Bridesmaids

Running Time: 125 minutes
Nominations: 2 (Best Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy; Best Original Screenplay)
Availability in the US: On DVD and Blu-ray
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong sexuality, and language throughout

Bridesmaids, the screenwriting debut of Saturday Night Live's Kristen Wiig, follows the story of out-of-work pastry chef Annie Walker (Wiig) whose best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) asks her to be maid of honor at Lillian's wedding. The trouble starts when Annie and fellow bridesmaid Helen start competing over who is a better friend to Lillian.

Bridesmaids is many things—raunchy, ridiculous, occasionally cringe-worthy— but Oscar-worthy is not one of them. For a film billed as the funniest of the year, I found real laughs to be few and far-between. Wiig's Annie was essentially a combination of traits from her SNL characters; the scene where Helen and Annie attempt to one-up each other at Lillian's engagement party feels like it would fit better as a skit on the show.

The two bright spots in the film are Annie's love interest, Officer Nathan Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd), whose kind and gentle humor offers a welcome contrast to the rest of the film, and Lillian's soon-to-be sister-in-law Megan (Melissa McCarthy). McCarthy is best known for lighthearted comedies like Gilmore Girls and Mike & Molly, so her gruff, rowdy, and deliciously dirty performance here is quite the revelation. Though McCarthy is not immune to some of the overall downfalls for the film—one scene in a dress shop comes to mind—her superior performance allows her to rise above the pack. McCarthy is the only actress taking her role seriously rather than milking it for laughs, and that's what makes her seriously funny.

Though she is the highlight of the film, McCarthy has little chance of actually winning the Oscar. Comedic roles are rarely recognized by the Academy, though the supporting categories are the occasional exception. Seeing as McCarthy is up against some tough contenders in much better films, I doubt she will be the victor. The film's nominated screenplay also seems unlikely to triumph since it is up against better (The Artist), timelier (Margin Call) and more critically acclaimed (Midnight in Paris) fare.

Grade: C-

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