Step aside The Hangover, Role Models, I Love You Man, 40-Year-Old Virgin, etc. and let’s explore how women can be funny too. It feels like a strange thing to say. After all, I send myself into fits of laughter on a daily basis and my therapist insists it’s not because of the meds. But all-women comedies are hard to come by. They’re usually passed off as chick flicks or they put too much emphasis on push-up bras and makeup samples. Why can’t there be more comedies that looks at a woman’s life, in all its catastrophic glory, and shows the world how inappropriately hilarious the day to day can be? After all, lady friendships are hard, and pretending to like chiffon just because your engaged BFF thinks it’ll match but not overpower the silk shrugs she’s ordered from the L.A. fabric district despite your strong suggestions that silk shoulder-wear (especially lemon-coloured for a winter wedding) will be a pointless, slippery pain the ass – is stressful.
Teenagers think they got it bad? Try being a single, temp-job-hating, 30-something with a can opener for a car and a mother who attends AA meetings for social hour. Annie (Kristen Wiig) isn’t particularly proud of her C+ life, but at least she can share her lack of achievements with her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph). The minute Lillian announces that she’s engaged, however, Annie has mixed feelings of vicarious excitement and a desperate thirst for wine. Any wine. All the wine. Lillian’s wedding plans and celebration hit the ground at a dead sprint, spurred along by the beautiful, overdressed, rich, well-connected, sentimental, new best friend, Helen (Rose Byrne). Annie, as the maid of honour, feels understandably overshadowed by Helen’s wealth of resources and unstoppable need to shower Lillian in attention. It’s the long-time best friend pitted against the new best friend in this bridesmaid battle royale.
Sure Annie screws up every celebration out of jealousy and spite, but when you’re a poorly packed suitcase bumping around in the trunk of the car called life, you either hold on to your socks and wait for the ride to be over or you make as massive a mess as you can to demonstrate the depths of your displeasure. Annie tries so very hard to be the best maid of honour one could ask for – but then Helen shows up in an evening gown with puppies as party favours. It’s like Usain Bolt challenging Charlie Brown to a race. Annie – I get you. Sometimes all you want is to sit unbathed on the couch and whimper while Wilson the volleyball floats away from a heartbroken Tom Hanks.
Bridesmaids makes you feel both sorry for Annie and wish she would climb out of her cave of self-pity and be happy for Lillian. It’s as complex as… well, as a real friendship. Being the last single friend can be rough, but spending the evenings making cupcakes for one won’t make it any better. It’s times like this when you need a friend like Megan (Melissa McCarthy) to pummel the sense back into you. Megan is the friend that’s there out of habit rather than the express need to share the same space. Still, she’s a crucial part of the gang, and blends in perfectly with the rest of the wedding party, including the stressed mom (Wendi McLedon-Covery) and the bubbly, oblivious newlywed (Elli Kemper).
Melissa McCarthy, along with Kristen Wiig’s unique brand of awkward fails, helps to make Bridesmaids not just a comedy, but a lady comedy that’s a little gross. When I think of Bridesmaids I think of violent food poisoning in a wedding salon. Bridesmaids makes it okay for women to both worry about dying alone surrounded by a pack of ravenous golden retrievers and worry about committing your eternity to wifehood. It’s either say yes to him or yes to that amazing bathtub in your centre-town studio apartment. It’s best friend vs. impostor best friend, money vs. funemployment, and an engagement /wedding celebration worthy of Marie Antoinette in this 8/10 comedy.