Let's get a couple of things straight from the start: Bridesmaids is not a chick flick, nor is it a rom-com. It is simply a brilliant comedy, the likes of which we see too rarely these days – a very, very funny film indeed.
And much of the credit must go its star and co-writer, the wonderful Wiig. She's been a rising star in Hollywood for some time now, ever since she joined the cast of the long-running sketch show Saturday Night Live back in 2005. She's popped up (and stood out) as a supporting player in a number of comedies over the years, primarily Judd Apatow films such as Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, along with the terrific Date Night, Whip It and last year's Paul. So while it was inevitavle that Wiig would one day headline a comedy, one has to wonder why it took so long.
Wiig stars as Annie, a woman who is at a low point in her life. Her bakery, Cake Baby, has gone bankrupt; her boyfriend has dumped, and she's stuck in a go-nowhere, friends-with-benefits "relationship" with selfish hunk Ted (Mad Men's Hamm); and she's flatsharing with a pair of obnoxious Brits and contemplating moving back in with her mother (Clayburgh). Things brighten up, though, when her BFF Lillian (Rudolph) tells her that she's getting married, and wants Annie to be her maid of honour. But also keen to be MoH is Lillian's wealthy new "soulmate" Helen (Byrne), who's married to the groom's boss. And thus ensues a madcap rivalry between the two.
As I mentioned at the start, Bridesmaids is neither chick flick nor rom-com, thought it certainly has elements of both. What really sets it apart and makes it a film for audiences of both genders (yes, guys, you'll love it too) are the smart, sassy script and the smashing performances. Everybody shines, but a few of the cast deserve to be singled out for special mention. First is McCarthy, who steals several scenes as the truly weird (but hilarious) Megan. Next is Byrne; we all knew what a fine actress she is – this year alone she's done great work in both Insidious and X-Men: First Class – but who knew she could be so funny? And The IT Crowd's O'Dowd, as the warm, kind and funny Irish cop who "woos" Annie. It's wonderful to see O'Dowd finally appearing in a film truly worthy of his talents – and as the love interest to boot.But Bridesmaids is Wiig's film all the way. As well as being a fine deliverer of funny lines, Wiig also proves herself adept at physical comedy – there's some slapstick work from her that would make Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett proud (a particularly madcap scene on a flight to Las Vegas springs to mind). But on top of all that, man, this woman can act. She makes this funny, sad, vulnerable and lovably crazy woman completley believeable. Bridesmaid is funny, yes, but it's also full of heart and soul, with real situations and real characters. Go on, go and buy it – you'll be glad you did.
EXTRAS ★★★★★ There are two versions of the film here: the theatrical release, and what they call in the US an "unrated" version, which runs an extra five minutes. As for bonus material, it's a damned fine package: there's a terrific audio commentatry that consists of director Feig, co-writer Mumolo and cast members Wiig, Rudolph, McCarthy, Kemper and Wendi Mclendon-Covey; a pretty decent (you know, it's actually funny) gag reel (9:41); the making-of featurette Made of Honour: Behind the Scenes of Bridesmaids (31:43); one of those Line-o-Rama things (12:13), which has lots of different takes of ... umm ... lines of dialogue; a Blind Date featurette (5:21); six deleted scenes (8:57); 18 extended and alternative scenes (50:03); "Roommates" deleted, extended and alternate scenes (18:32); "Cholodecki's" deleted, extended and alternate scenes, and commercials (23:22); Drunk-O-Rama (4:21); Pep Talk (2:41); Annie vs Helen (7:29); Hold On (4:31), the full wedding song with Wilson Phillips.