“I’m life, Annie! And I’m biting you in the ass!” Bridesmaids (2011)
“We can watch Cast Away. It’s like Forrest Gump, but on an island”
Bridesmaids then. Nothing like I expected. Nothing like the trailer made it out to be. Overall, a nice fucking surprise of a film. Paul Feig has done something wonderful with a female comedy that has REAL female characters. Written by women, for women, Bridesmaids is a joy.
Centred around Annie (Kristen Wiig) – failed business, failed relationship, money worries, the threat of moving back in with her mother hanging over her, selfish cad of a fuck buddy – the film instantly throws this flaky mess of a woman into the hell of wedding organisation. Out of her depth, and losing grip on a lifelong friendship, Annie falls apart in spectacular fashion. Her sense of unworthiness and self-loathing impacting on everything without her realising. Even when given a chance of happiness, she manages to fuck it all up. You’d be forgiven for wanting to shout at the screen, if she wasn’t so god damn likeable.
That’s where Bridesmaids wins. Everyone knows an Annie. She’s far too fucking real. Hell, many people watching it will get half way through and realise they *are* Annie. Christ, let’s all get bladdered and scream out Wilson Phillips together while our lives fall apart in front of our eyes, eh? Screw that, let’s all find a Megan for a best buddy. Crikey, that woman has more balls than half the men I know. She’s fucking fabulous.
Seemingly perfect women with perfect lives are what make Annie feel like a failure, only for the cracks in these ideal worlds to come out when the shit hits the fan. Funny, smart and touching? Didn’t expect that at all. Bridesmaids is much darker than you think it would be, with all the bitchiness and disappointment of real life left bare for all to see. There is a particularly memorable moment when Annie – having lost her bakery – bakes and ices one single, beautiful cupcake. Only to look at it sadly before eating it. Nothing needs to be said, you see all the effort this woman put into business only for her hopes and dreams to crash and burn. Bridesmaids is full of these moments for Kristen Wiig, be they flashing looks of hurt and betrayal, or blatant insecurity in the presence of those she deems better than herself. Yeah, it’s billed as a comedy, but often Wiig’s facial expressions are quite heartbreaking.
Light relief is provided by Melissa McCarthy as Megan – bolshy, sure of herself, and ready to climb the nearest single man she sets her sights on “like a tree” – and the drunken revelations of Disney Princess Becca (Ellie Kemper) and Rita (Wendy McLendon-Covey) as they bemoan the state of their marriages. Rose Byrne is on great form as Helen, new best friend to bride to be Lillian (Maya Rudolph), pushing Annie out of the picture and outdoing her at every turn. The type of woman you’d want to punch, but first ask where she got her hair done and make sure you found out what foundation she used.
It’s somewhat life affirming to see less-than-perfect women struggle through friendships and relationships in the way they do. Yeah, maybe it’s a bit harder to watch when you know you’re the fucked-up one with the disaster of a life in your particular group of friends – but that makes it all the more enjoyable. Because even after all the shit you’ve been through, they’re still your friends. They forgive you for being a dick, they don’t care that you’re always broke, and they never judge you for your disastrous relationship choices. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo get that. They nailed this shit. Interested to see what either of them write next.
I have a new hero. Annie Walker. If she can fuck everything up so badly, hit bottom and still find a happy ending? There really IS hope for us all.
Until then? Sing it, bitches!