‘Bridesmaids’ is the movie that I’ve always wanted to see. Despite the fantastic reviews, I was still highly skeptical. A chick flick called bridesmaids? With almost no racial diversity and one big girl who is a bit crazy and mostly the butt of physical humor? I did not see how this movie could be very good. Fortunately for me, I was in for quite a treat!
Honestly, I was sucked in within the first ten minutes of the film. The opening sex scene between Kristin Wiig and the very sexy Jon Hamm was Hilarious. It was your typical, but never mentioned, encounter between a woman who wants sex and the man who’s using her for sex when he can’t get in touch with anyone else that night, and who is only concerned with his own pleasure, completely ignoring his bed mate’s wishes. This is a scene that happens often in real life, if you believe the accounts of my own friends, but which you never see in cultural accounts of real life sex.
We see this messy real life character of Annie: barely employed failure, crappy car, cannot pay her bills, has to move back in with her mother, crazy and instable, involved in shitty barely romances (including the aforementioned Hamm debacle which recurs throughout the film), and finally involved in a tete a tete with her best friend’s new best friend, the upper class one-upping wife of her fiance’s boss. She lies to her best friend (“oh, it’s not too much..”) the same way she lies to her “man” (“oh, yeah, that feels so good…”) When do you see a character like this who isn’t completely one-sided stereotypical and utterly non-complex? Instead, this character is complex, has real life emotional breakdowns while also managing redemptive moments of zeal and genuine happiness for herself or those around her.
What I loved about this movie more than anything, however, was the ability of this movie to call out the genre. Every time something cliché happened, they called themselves on it. For example – at one point, I wrote down “Great. Typically poor unhappy woman needs to be saved/redeemed by a man?!”. Literally seconds after I wrote this, Annie decries: “I don’t need to be saved!” and runs out. This absolutely cracked me up – I knew at that point that this movie and I were on the same page. The movie attacks the ‘so pretty girl’ versus the ‘so cute/so sweet girl’ dichotomy by having the feuding Annie and Helen calling each other by these clichés.
Although Maya Rudolph was a mixed character, there was not any other racial diversity in the film, which is a definite flaw. And props must be given for inclusion of any – even if limited – body diversity. Megan (Melissa McCarthy) was a phenomenal role, and even proved to be more complex than initially hinted toward as the movie progressed. Additional props must be given to the addressing of class disparity between characters. Although the two best friends – Annie and Lillian – are from the same background, one moved up and the other moved down, economically speaking. This wasn’t a problem to be resolved, but rather it was simply a fact of the movie. I appreciated the tension that this caused as it was, and the fact that it was addressed. It was, for much of the movie, the base cause of much of the drama – the tension between Helen and Annie, the fact that Annie was going crazy and had entirely too much on her plate, the separation of the group on the airplane, etc.
Jon Hamm’s stereotypical asshole man out to get his compared to Chris O’Dowd’s Officer Rhodes was another fantastic pairing. When the two run into each other, Rhodes’ response is “you’ve got to be kidding me!”. It is absolutely perfect. Ultimately, the philosophy of the movie is summed up completely in one line – You’re your problem, Annie, and you’re also your solution. Once Annie makes the decision to fly with things and not let everything around her control her, she comes to terms with those around her. Highly recommended movie – catch it before it leaves theaters! I definitely look forward to more from this writing duo.