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'Bridesmaids' a hilarious romp down the aisle



Article Published: May. 19, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
'Bridesmaids' a hilarious romp down the aisle

Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig star in 'Bridesmaids.'



frank@mountaintimes.com

I've attended more weddings than I care to remember, and only two were worth the tux rental.

One was more of a 48-hour party in a haunted hotel, the other at an eccentric millionaire's animal menagerie, where one could attempt conversation with parrots, llamas and bartenders.

It doesn't take long for the tide to turn at a wedding. There's a foreboding sense of panic in the air, as those involved are simply too stressed to enjoy themselves. I can honestly say I've seen a bride breathe fire. Or maybe that's something a llama told me.

Put simply, those getting married share a completely different view of that "special day" than those in the wedding party, let alone the audience.

The new comedy, "Bridesmaids," takes this concept and gleefully runs with it. It's bolstered by a terrific cast, led by Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph (TV's "Saturday Night Live"), and expert direction from TV comedy veteran Paul Feig ("Arrested Development").

A product of the Judd Apatow gang (TV's "Freaks and Geeks," "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," etc.), it's one of those movies that will be hailed as a truly funny chick flick. That's not the case. "Bridesmaids" is a truly funny flick, period.

In Apatow style, it embraces raunchy, laugh-out-loud comedy without losing sight of the grounded humanity behind it all, and the results are memorably hilarious.

Wiig stars as Annie, a habitually single, thirtysomething jewelry store clerk whose life has taken a turn for the worse. Her self-owned bakery has gone out of business, her friend with benefits (Jon Hamm, "The Town") treats her with chauvinistic contempt, and - the icing on the cake - her best friend since childhood, Lillian (Rudolph), has just gotten engaged.

Naturally, Lillian chooses Annie as her maid of honor. While happy for her friend, Annie can't suppress the inherent jealousy, which only grows after meeting her fellow bridesmaids - Helen (Rose Byrne, "Sunshine") in particular.

The rich and impeccably classy Helen upstages Annie while giving a speech at the engagement party, starting an obsessive rivalry that has Annie doubting her best-friend status with Lillian and going to ridiculous (and hysterical) extremes to retain it.

It doesn't help that Annie's best-laid plans for the wedding party go down in flames, from food poisoning to the most grotesque dress-fitting in cinematic history.

All the while, she struggles to gain the affection of amiable state trooper Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd, "Dinner for Schmucks"), while coping with her utterly bizarre British roommates, one of whose newfound tattoo is the stuff of nightmares.

As the stress builds and Annie finds herself increasingly polarized from her friends, including Lillian, she begins to wonder whether she, herself, is to blame.

"Bridesmaids" is borderline predictable, but its well-written characters - Annie and Lillian, specifically - are drawn with such relatable humanity that nothing is taken for granted.

Wiig's performance is stellar - she and Rudolph share such a believable chemistry that they genuinely could have been childhood friends - while the rest of the ensemble, Byrne, Melissa McCarthy (TV's "Gilmore Girls"), Wendi McLendon (TV's "Reno 911") and Ellie Kemper (TV's "The Office"), throw even more belly laughs into the fray.

With his work on "The Office" and "Arrested Development," director Feig is no stranger to ensembles, and it shows in "Bridesmaids." He juggles multiple characters and side stories with such finesse that the film never loses sight of its character-driven heart.

It's one of 2011's best comedies, well worth the tux rental and no parrots or llamas necessary.
"Bridesmaids," rated R for some strong sexuality, and language throughout, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, see page 12B or visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.

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