Directed by Paul Feig, Written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, 125 minutes, Rated R.
By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz
There's a moment in the new comedy “Bridesmaids,” where Kristin Wiig's character, Annie, refers to a fake boyfriend named George Glass. George Glass, of course, is probably the most famous faux-suitor in the world, finding fame in the 1960s as the imaginary man of one Jan Brady.
It's no surprise that Annie would be interested in the same man: Annie is essentially a mid-30s version of Jan—the new Jan Brady, if you will.
This concept drives “Bridesmaids.” Annie's life isn't what she hoped for: Her love-life is in the toilet, acting as a friend with benefits to a hilariously chauvinistic Jon Hamm; the bakery she bet the farm on went under; her living situation with two creepy British siblings is off-putting; and when she's crowned maid of honor for her best friend's wedding (Maya Rudolph), she spends the next few weeks "Marcia-Marcia-Marcia-ing" Helen (Rose Byrne), the bride-to-be’s new best friend.
Wiig’s performance is at the center of what turns out to be a well-rounded and hilarious cast of characters. As she sets up—and inevitably ruins—each situation, director Paul Feig discovers dozens of opportunities for laughs, as each of the peripheral members of the wedding party vomit on and make nice with one another.
This ability to circulate around such a great cast proves a bit more difficult to manage than your typical sitcom. While Feig, who found great success directing television, feels at home in the ensemble, many segments of the exhausting two-hours diverge from the plot and the point. One in particular features Annie attempting to get her Police Officer boyfriend’s (Chris O’Dowd) help in finding a missing person, only to find out that that missing person is in her apartment.
Wiig, who seems more than equipped to balance the split between humor and sincere observation, energetically carries each scene. She sings. She dances. She bakes. But her character, with all her why-isn’t-my-best-friend-paying-attention-to-me-ness, fails to stay fresh by the end of the film. Her problems get worse, but waiting for her to finally realize it’s her fault feels tedious.
The many parts of “Bridesmaids” are better than the whole, with each scene offering a fair share of heart and belly laughs. However, as the film starts dancing around the same pathetic problems of Annie, things begin to slow down immensely. But, for what it’s worth, “Bridesmaids” is a great first step for Apatow in finding his feminine voice, and an even better launching pad for the hilarious Kristin Wiig.