Kristin Wiig has finally managed to get herself into a film that allows her to showcase just how damn funny she is. Whether you like the current incarnation of Saturday Night Live or not Wiig has been one of the strongest castmembers for years now. She doesn't, I think, get enough opportunity to shine on the program but this movie allows her to let loose. This film, also written by Wiig, is what many critics call the "female version of the Hangover". That's an easy statement to make and a very accurate one at that. There have been few movies in recent memory that made me laugh as consistently as the aformentioned Vegas romp. It had the raunchy R-rated stuff mixed with some real good stuff at its core.
This is, unlike The Hangover, is the Apatow formula applied to a movie full of women. I was worried that the results would be mostly mixed but instead I was treated to a film that not only features a consitently funny script but also strong performances all around.
Where to start?
Big things are coming up for Kristen Wiig. This movie will serve as the catalyst for that. Her timing and presence on-screen are magnificent. There were scenes in which she was just right on the money and played off everyone around her so damn well. The scenes in the airplane are the type of physical comedy that many male comics can't pull off let alone a dainty woman such as herself. It reminded me of Lucille Ball actually and the ol' redhead would be proud of Wiig for her performance.
The supporting cast, lead without a doubt by Melissa McCarthy, is uniformly strong in their performances. McCarthy, in particular, nearly upstaged Wiig in many of the moments in the film and by God that woman was funny. Maya Rudolph, Wendy McLendon, Ellie Kemper, and Rose Byrne all brought it to this endeavor and they were all backed by a consisten script that delivered on laughs and also on developed characters.
We, as the audience, want to hate Helen (Rose Byrne) so damn much because she's one of those well-to-do rich snobs who plans everything out for everyone and is, well, perfect. We learn, as the film progresses, that maybe she's not so bad after all. We have Megan (Melissa McCarthy) who is the definite wild card of the group who not only flaunts her sexuality but brings everyone else into her madness. Rita (McLendon) plays a mother of three who complains about just how awful her kids are ("There is semen on everything.") and just wants some "balls in her face". Becca (Kemper) is the innocent one that is a newly wed but has never really got to experience life and, well, might be willing to enjoy herself. Lillian (Rudolph) is the bride-to-be who gets a little swept up in all the planning and prep and, perhaps, misses the fact that her best of friends, Annie, is sinking like a stone.
Annie had a bakery once, Cake Baby, but that failed. She has a friend with benefits in John Hamm (who by the way plays the best douchebag I've seen in some time) who really doesn't like her as much as her lady bits. Her car is absolute piece of shit and her Mom paints watercolors of famous people. We get to see a lovely Wynona Judd near the beginning of the film. Life hasn't been kind to Annie, but she also hasn't done much to fix her situation. She's allowed herself to sink down so low that rock bottom is a mere step away.
Enter Officer Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd) who pulls her over for a busted tail light. O'Dowd plays such a likable romantic interest that it made me a bit disappointed that we didn't get to see more of him. I understand the movie was about the whole bridesmaids ordeal, but damn if O'Dowd didn't impress me here. We already knew he was hiliarious from his work on The IT Crowd (seriously god damn genius sitcom) but I didn't know he had the chops to be serious as well. Great stuff from him.
This movie for all its gross humor and cursing has a lot of great themes that play out well and we also have a happy ending. It is that adult comedy that manages to make you feel good as well. Apatow is great at that, love him or hate him, and his fingerprints are all over this. What really makes this a standout film, though, are Wiig's writing and on-screen presence. Dynamite.
Do yourself a favor and go see it this weekend. You won't regret it.