Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bridesmaids (2011) * *

Directed by: Paul Feig

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Jill Clayburgh, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper

Bridesmaids is a really thin comedy that takes way too long to tell. It runs an absurdly long 2 hours and 5 minutes (perhaps that includes the credits which contain outtakes, but I highly doubt there were many of those). Some scenes run so long that I become aware of how long they're running, and that is deadly for comedy in which pacing is every bit as important as the laughs. Bridesmaids is being billed as "The Hangover for women", only this movie contains no hangovers and never completes the trip to Vegas, but more on that later.

Saturday Night Live's Kristen Wiig stars as Annie, whose life is not going well as the film opens. She is mired in debt due to running a bakery that failed, she works at a jewelry store trying desperately to sell hope and love to customers while she has none, and she lives with a strange brother and sister who would rather she be gone. Oh, and her only "relationship" is as a fuckdoll for a rich slickster (Jon Hamm) who has rules against her sleeping over.

There is some good news in that her best friend since childhood, Lillian (Rudolph) gets engaged and chooses her as the maid of honor. However, it becomes apparent that Annie is simply out of her depth trying to coordinate the events for the wedding party. The wedding party consists of a rich friend of Lillian's who seems better suited to handle things, an oversexed mom of 3, a Mormonish wife, and a rotund, rugged ball of energy named Megan who is meant to the female counterpart to Zach Galifinakis from The Hangover.

The problem here isn't the performances. Wiig is lovable and vulnerable, Rose Byrne is the rich, connected new friend of Lillian who may or may not be trying to usurp Annie as "the best friend", and I even liked Jon Hamm's unapologetic SOB who refers to Annie as "Hey, fuck buddy." The problem stems from the fact that many of the key scenes go on and on. Here is a list of them:

1. The opening scene in which Wiig is getting banged in as many positions as the Kama Sutra allows.

2. The engagement party toast in which Wiig and Byrne one-up each other in an attempt to impress the bride-to-be.

3. The flight to Vegas in which Wiig gets stoned on Valium and pills and flops about the first-class cabin.

4. The scene in which the girls go to pick out their dresses and simultaneous cases of food poisoning emerge. Alas, there is only one bathroom and one toilet and you can guess where that goes from there.

5. The scene in which Wiig tries to get the attention of her state patrolman sort-of boyfriend by driving by and flaunting her lawbreaking.

There were probably more, but these scenes add up to overkill and at least an additional 20 minutes of running time. There are some funny parts here and Wiig is likable enough to carry a movie, but she also co-wrote it and needs to learn that less is more sometimes. The film wears out its welcome a good 85 minutes in and there is still a wedding to go.