Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Universal Pictures
Now Showing

Whomever it was who is quoted as saying women can't be funny obviously wasn't paying attention. Or was probably only watching Hollywood comedies of the last decade where the boys get to have all the fun, be it in Vegas or with mother's freshly baked pastries.

But if he'd been watching TV's Saturday Night Live instead, he would have known that women can be and are funny on a regular basis. Tina Fey has proven her mettle both on - as one-time vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin - and off SNL with her own sit-com, 30 Rock, in which she not only stars but also writes and produces.

Now fellow SNL'er, Kristen Wiig, following several supporting film roles, gets her chance to shine in Bridesmaids, a film which she, like Fey, also wrote and co-produced. Bridesmaids comes billed as the female equivalent of The Hangover but don't be fooled: not only is it twice as funny as that film's recent sequel, but it's no chick flick either. That is to say, guys need not feel the need skip it out of fear of over-exposure to oestrogen. This is no frilly, girl-centric rom-com, though the girls are front and centre. And they're funny.

Wiig is down-on-her-luck Annie, whose cupcake business folded during the GFC and is sharing an apartment with an odd brother-sister combo (Little Britain's Matt Lucas and Australian Rebel Wilson) from the UK. Annie isn't romantically involved either but she's hopeful that her regular booty call (deliciously played by Mad Men's Jon Hamm in cad mode) might develop into something more.

Then Annie's BFF, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), announces her engagement, and while the role of maid of honour should lift her spirits, it sends Annie into a downward spiral, one very much exacerbated by Lillian's new best friend, Helen (Rose Byrne). Pretty, poised and rich, Helen is everything Annie isn't, instantly making Helen public enemy #1.

But Bridesmaids isn't about the evils of female rivalry or how the prospect of a wedding brings out the worst in their natures (see Bride Wars or the recent Something Borrowed). To their credit, Wiig and fellow writer, Annie Mumolo (it's directed by Paul Feig), celebrate female friendship in all its complexity, and as anyone can attest - male and female - the best of friendships don't always run smoothly.

Or cleanly. Wiig and her castmates (Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and a scene-stealing Melissa McCarthy) aren't afraid to get dirty in the name of comedy. Bridesmaids is raunchy and raucous, with a healthy serving of sex, language and bodily fluids which were once the sole province of male-centric comedies such as The Hangover and American Pie. Anything the boys can do . . .

What you should do is accept the invitation to Bridesmaids. While not without its flaws - two particular scenes (one involving duelling microphones, the other a highway patrol car) are stretched too thin, and its two hour running time is unnecessary - its more bouquets than brickbats.

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