By Sandra Kraisirideja
Despite the popularity of wedding-themed romantic comedies and its title, “Bridesmaids” is not a romantic comedy.
In fact, the last time a comedy with a female leading cast had the same kind of impact as “Bridesmaids” was 30 years ago with “9 to 5” in 1980.
Just as “9 to 5” had Lily Tomlin, who appeared on “Saturday Night Live” from 1976 to 1977, “Bridesmaids” has two SNL alums—Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph. Wiig also co-wrote the script with Annie Mumolo.
Judd Apatow, who singlehandedly revived the R-rated comedy, adds his special touch as producer and Paul Feig serves as director. The cast includes Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper.
When Lillian (Rudolph) gets engaged she asks her best friend Annie (Wiig) to be her maid of honor, but Annie’s struggling to keep her own life together. The pressure of losing her best friend coupled with all of her responsibilities as maid of honor prove to be too much for Annie to handle.
“Bridesmaids” is an example of when tragedy helps comedy and this movie is hilarious. Annie’s life is a wreck and gets progressively worse over the course of the movie, but her personal meltdown is what makes it even funnier. We sympathize with Annie and want her to succeed and when there are moments to laugh it’s a relief because so many unfortunate things happen.
Comics enjoy watching other comics, which is why actors on TV shows often appear in movies. They are who the filmmakers are watching at the time.
In “Bridesmaids” it appears the filmmakers have been watching British and Australian sitcoms. Rebel Wilson and Matt Lucas play Wiig’s roommates and each was in an Australian and British sitcom respectively. Wiig’s love interest is played by Chris O’Dowd from the British sitcom “The IT Crowd.”
While Wiig is terrific as Annie it’s Melissa McCarthy who steals the show. It will be the lines from her character that audiences will repeat as they leave the theater. I won’t be surprised if this movie is the turning point in McCarthy’s career. Hopefully there will be more scripts like “Bridesmaids” that seem to understand what McCarthy can give.