“Bridesmaids” Is Melissa McCarthy’s Movie

Introducing the bro pic with a twist ... women welcome

Screw you, Judd Apatow. For the past six years—since your release of the highly profitable The 40 Year-Old Virgin—we, the battered, beleaguered American public have had to endure the onslaught of bro pics. I can’t blame you for inventing the genre, you simply showed the studios how much money could be made. So every few months yet another R-rated comedy is released—always about men acting like boys: dick and scatological jokes, their bread and butter (yeah … sorry about that metaphor). Some have been good (Forgetting Sarah Marshall). Some have been really good (Pineapple Express, The Hangover). But more and more, many have become less and less. That is until you, Mr. Apatow, produced Bridesmaids.

Kristen Wiig plays Annie, a down-on-her-luck woman who can’t get ahead in life or love. One day her best friend Lillian (the wonderful Maya Rudolph) announces she’s engaged and wants Annie to be her maid of honor. Unfortunately, another bridesmaid Helen (Rose Byrne) wants the job … at any cost. So the battle begins, and slowly the friendship, the wedding, and Annie’s life begin to crumble.

Wiig is delightfully restrained. Instead of Jim Carey-esque facial contortions, we get to see her be almost normal. And in doing so, she brings realistic warmth to Annie. Yet, Wiig’s SNL characters have become so engrained in our minds, I couldn’t help but laugh, even during her quieter moments.

However, this is Melissa McCarthy’s movie. Already known for being a gifted comedienne (Gilmore Girls, Samantha Who?, Mike & Molly), McCarthy is able to take her derivative, female Zach Galifianakis role and make it something special. Each scene, each gesture is so unexpected I found myself laughing at everything she did.

Written by Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids is sweet, profane, disgusting, gleeful and hilarious. It has moments where you cover your eyes and mouth in shocked horror. It has moments where you laugh so hard, you might miss most of the dialogue. The movie isn’t perfect. There are many things I wished were different—beefed-up roles for bridesmaids Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and Becca (Ellie Kemper), and ditching the brother and sister roommates storyline, which was more creepy than funny, would have been good. There are things that were just right—any scene involving the immensely talented and under-recognized Maya Rudolph (remember Away We Go?), and the food-poisoning/dress-fitting scene, which may rank as one of the most revoltingly funny scenes ever. (Let’s just say it ends with the line “You’re shitting in the street!”)

My hopes: 1) Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph have many movie features in their futures. 2) The success of Bridesmaids will make Hollywood recognize the profitability of strong, female casts. (BUT we don’t want to see retreads of Bridesmaids for the next five years. We want movies that continually shake up the concept of what an R-rated comedy can be.)

Oh, Mr. ApotowApatow, sorry about that screw-you comment. And … thanks for Freaks and Geeks.

My Grade: A-

This Weekend
There are only a few weeks left to see the exquisite Roberto Capucci show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Explore this first U.S. survey of the Italian genius’s 60-year career. Be in awe of the colors, designs, shapes and sheer size of the exhibit.

Theatre Exile’s Saturn Returns is a divisive play. Within a scant running time of 70 minutes, the play attempts to examine the notion of loneliness, dependence and loss. There are some great moments and startling images, but overall the production is limited by Noah Haidle’s part-abstract, part-realistic script, and the abrupt, but not altogether impactful finale. Through May 22nd.

Kathryn Stockett, author of the mega-bestseller book The Help, will appear at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Free Library’s Central Branch. Tickets are still available.

Follow Aaron Mettey on Twitter @AaroMets. For details on the week’s best events delivered to your inbox every Wednesday, sign up for our A&E and nightlife newsletter, The Weekender.