Judd Apatow is one of most recognisable names in modern comedy with his own unique style. His name may not be synonymous with quality comedy films; instead he is known for a boisterous, loud, and blokey school of comedy. In a move away from his traditional fare, Apatow has produced Bridesmaids, the Kristen Wiig written film which is a romantic comedy from the perspective of the woman. This is a first within the Apatow cannon of comedy.
This is a film whose title doesn’t go to a great detail to describe the film is, in fact it probably sells it short. To that end it really goes without saying that this isn’t the film you expect. Bridesmaids is about the relationship between two friends that is rocked thanks to the lifestyle changes that come after she accepts her boyfriends marriage proposal. There’s also more under the immediate surface. After the announcement of the wedding Annie’s (Kristen Wiig) life takes a speedy descent towards rock bottom after the cake shop which fell victim to the recession. Further still there is Annie’s relationship with the uncredited John Hamm and Chris O’ Dowd. Particularly worthy of note is the fact that O’ Dowd speaks with his natural voice and not the horrid pseudo-American accent that British actors assume when they work over the pond.
With any comedy film the only real way to judge whether it is a success is by how funny it is. That is a comedy film’s primary purpose after all and bridesmaid made me laugh and then some. There are some great jokes that subvert the feminist ideal post-sex and the city, some great one-liners and some spot on psychical comedy too. As funny as some of the more outlandish moments are this is not a consistently funny film. This is not a laugh a minute comedy, more often than not I smiled.
When Bridesmaids is funny it’s really funny. Not just any kind of funny either, the type of funny which has you laughing out of the blue long after you have seen the film. Bridesmaids is the sort of film that will have you laughing to yourself on the bus long after you have seen the film. These massive belly laughs came from three scenes. The first is a toilet scene with plenty of poo jokes. This may be a divisive type of humour that you either like or you don’t, from a personal perspective I think when a joke is really well done you can’t help but laugh no matter how stupid or tasteless it is. The next laugh out loud funny scene takes place on a plane and the last is the best by far. What starts out as a fairly innocuous conversation between Annie and a customer at the jewellery shop escalates into a full-blown mudslinging match with a hilariously crude out of the blue conclusion.
It could be debated that for this film to be funny for everybody that it tells a story that observes and contemplates the truth of something like the relationship between two woman who are best friends but the comedy all comes from a place which is traditionally used in films that are for boys. I could argue that, but I am going to say that this film is funny regardless of gender and that it’s a rare thing in the culturally exclusive age we live in.
There is also some great performances to be had from the cast including the aforementioned Chris O’ Dowd who puts in a turn that will help establish him as a viable actor in America. There is also Melissa McCarthy as the crude yet sensitive Megan who alongside Kristen Wiig in the lead role is one of the most consistent sources of laughs in the film. Last but far from least there is Rose Byrne who continues her great run of form in 2011 after Insidious and X-Men: First Class.
It’s not all so positive because at 2 hours 5 minutes long this film is far too long for a comedy. There are many scenes that could be deleted without affecting the film a great deal. Additionally it has the most cringe worthy scene of the year, even worse than Mike Tyson in the Hangover part.2. The final reels of this film are the worst kind of fallout from the worse kind of 1980s cinema. There is a karaoke ending with a camp ballad being mimed along to by the cast, it was agonising to watch. It would have done the film a great deal of good to end 10 minutes earlier. When all is said and done Bridesmaids may not have been consistently funny but that doesn’t change that this is funny and touching romantic comedy and the funniest film of the year so far. Decide for yourselves whether that is damning with faint praise or not, it doesn’t really change that I enjoyed this film far more than I ever dared to expect.