Bridesmaids – A Protest Review

I feel like an overly PC white person who desperately wants to criticise a co-worker – who is non-white – but feels the need to preface the diss with ‘Look, I have nothing against Asian people, some of my best friends of Asian, and I love their food, but lately Cynthia…”

As a guy the prevailing consensus seems to be anyone who doesn’t like Bridesmaids is somehow sexist.

Well I resisted the non-allure of this film for a long while, all the way until the concluding stages of a semi-drunken BBQ last week, when the DVD was thrust into my reluctant paws on the way out the door with the most ominous of recommendations – ‘look it’s actually good’.

Wrong.

This is my third protest review, and follows the same premise as the first two; I just didn’t think I would like the film recommended to me.

But with Crazy, Stupid Love I could see where the target audience would get caught up in the romantic bits, I could see that it held a certain level of charm and where the comedy might (allegedly) emanate from. I still didn’t like it, but I could see why others might.

As my Mum says, “Not my cup of tea”.

Hell I even watched Twilight under much duress, knowing full well it would regret it, again though I could see how teenaged girls (and desperate, should know better adult women) could allow themselves to fall for sparkly vampires and absolutely hairless werewolves.

But I don’t for a minute get all the fawning about Bridesmaids…

^^^^^^^^^^^^

Annie (Kristen Wiig) is having a bad run. She is desperately light on for cash as a result of a failed business venture meaning she is late with the rent, necessitating her maintaining a shit job she doesn’t enjoy. Annie’s only male companionship comes from Ted (John Hamm), a well-to-do smooth straight talker who suggests a relationship of convenience. His convenience.

Annie laments her situation to one and all, but what to do?

Then comes to announcement. Annie’s lifelong BFF Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announces her engagement and wants Annie to be the maid of honour.

No problems so far, only at the engagement party Annie meets Helen (Rose Byrne), a woman who has known Lillian for a comparatively short while. Helen is younger, prettier, wealthier (by marriage) and – let’s just say it – better than Annie in every conceivable way. She also wants to be involved in every aspect of the wedding planning, and as a bridesmaid it looks from the outset like she will get her way.

The first moment when I suspected this film might be a trainwreck occurred when Annie and Helen had a rap-battle style ‘speech off’ at the engagement party, with each competing to give the most moving, most heartfelt missive as if they were being scored by a panel of judges.

I hated this scene, but it set the tone for what followed. If the film Bridesmaids was a pie chart it would be broken up thusly (and by the way, if I cared more I would have made an actual pie chart):

  • 40% Annie is sad (look she puts her baking skills to making a tiny cake for one.
  • 40% Annie and Helen are competitive and both want to be the one most responsible for Lillian’s happiness.
  • 10% A nice guy (inexplicably) decides Annie is a worthy prospect – despite all evidence through the film to the contrary and
  • 10% The shit scene.

Aaaahhh, the shit scene, and let me preface this by saying that my wife, who saw this in cinemas, could sense my growing distaste for the blandness and inanity and actually said these words ‘fast forward to the poo scene’. Now might I ask if that statement alone can be used as evidence that this is not such a great film after all? I mean if fast forwarding to such a scene is a plus, what does that say about the rest of the film? (BTW if it were a bunch of guys performing the same bodily functions my hilarity-meter would similarly barely quiver.)

On and on they go, Annie by turns sad and increasingly resentful of Helen in a passive aggressive way (I never thought I could hate Rose Byrne but here you go). The only two moments of life were both inspired by Annie finally rising up and getting angry, the first time on a plane, the second nearer the end of the film. Each time I had the same thought ‘About time’, not because I felt anyone especially deserved it (in fact all did), but because the simmering angry looks and fake happiness was giving me the shits.

Another aside; I know we’re supposed to feel bad for Annie, she’s single, has a crap job, no money, no life and a user boyfriend. On the surface she’s the polar opposite of Helen (why do women always resent the pretty ones?) But as the only nice character in the movie, police officer – and prospective suitor – Nathan points out her situation is all her own doing. She loses her job because she is a bitch, she is thrown off the plane because she is a drunken bitch, she alienates her friends because she is a bitch, she is turfed from her flat because she is a broke bitch (because she lost her job by being a bitch).

Losing the flat can’t be a bad thing, her flatmates look like the result of genetic testing gone horribly wrong, and are equally as funny…

Anyone else notice a theme here? I detest the implication that for 100 minutes of a 120 minute movie I am supposed to root for an absolute and utter bitch, and then cheer her on when she finally wakes up and smells the wedding cake and realises she should change her ways at the last possible second. Wow, isn’t she awesome for noticing what a reprehensible person and lousy friend she is? Makes one glad to be alive to see this triumph of the human spirit.

I should point out that despite all of this I could easily forgive the character flaws and lazy plot if the damn thing was funny. I just didn’t think it was.

Before this film I must admit I didn’t know what the female half of wedding parties did in the lead up to the event, the selfish male in me was focused on all the guy stuff, which comprises of nothing more than sitting on the couch until 30 minutes before the event, throwing on a tux and getting to the church. Now having seen this apparent representation of how the women interact I can only say I hope real life is more interesting, and funnier, than this.

I love sport, and the NBA season recently went into lockout, after one of the best seasons in history. This meant I had to wait for over 6 months to indulge in my favourite TV sport. The wait was excruciating and actually grew painful. The only thing that felt longer was the 2 hours last night spent watching this mindless drivel.

Final Rating – 5 / 10. I watched this once under protest, I would need to be stuck under a steamroller to be forced to watch it again. I was happier bypassing the cover thinking I wouldn’t like it, at least then there was an element of doubt.

P.S. I sent a message to a few friends announcing my hatred of this tripe and received three responses, 1 said ‘it was ok’, the other two both referred to the shit scene…

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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