Getting chosen to be a bridesmaid when you're single is often like a rite of passage. Besides the fact that you've now got a ton of activities you have to plan on your shoestring budget, you usually end up examining your own life (i.e. wondering when you're finally going to graduate from "casually dating" to walking down the aisle). Face it, your best friend has moved up to the big leagues and you, well, haven't.
In Bridesmaids, Kristin Wiig stars as Annie, a hilariously awkward thirty-something semi-professional down on her luck. She loses her business, her man and her mind all in a matter of weeks. With finances tight, she's forced to live with not one but two weirdo roommates and put up with a crappy job every day. Then her best friend and partner in crime Lillian (Maya Rudolph) goes and gets engaged on her. Of course she's happy for her pal, but Annie can't help feeling like she's slowly being singled out as (gasp!) that pathetic single friend for whom things never seem to go right.
So Annie sets her sights on being the world's best maid of honor for Lillian. That is, until she meets Helen (Rose Byrne), Lillian's glamorous new friend (and fellow bridesmaid) from her fiancé's side who she's "only known for ten minutes" and tries to take over the whole wedding extravaganza, constantly one-upping Annie's low-scale pre-wedding activities. As she and Helen hysterically play off each other's wedding antics and compete for Lillian's friendship, Annie must also contend with the other wild femmes in the bridal party, Rita, Becca, Megan (Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper and Melissa McCarthy). All the while, Annie is reaching a crossroads in her personal life in the form of a new love interest (Chris O'Dowd). If you love Wiig's senseless wit and over-the-top performances on Saturday Night Live, you'll adore her in Bridesmaids. Wiig, who also co-wrote the script, teams with real-life best friend Rudolph (whose usual humor is unfortunately severely downplayed in the movie), and carries the movie effortlessly, proving she is a bonafide movie star. The rest of the bunch were no slouches either (McCarthy's sublime raunchiness nearly steals the show from Wiig).
Although the movie is tons of fun and at times really heartfelt, thanks to Wiig's beautifully nuanced performance, there are some parts that dragged. Some of the more vulgar parts could have been cut in half and the audience would have still gotten the point. And some of the more dramatic scenes could have been edited better.
At its core, Bridesmaids is about friendship--losing it, needing it, and gaining it--and less about contending with its male brethren of comedies like The Hangover. Sure, it neatly avoids a lot of the fluff found in many chick flicks and replaces it with crass shenanigans, but it adds touching moments when they're needed most, providing for a smart, less clichéd comedy. Take that, fellas.