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Annie, is a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her best friend, Lillian, and a group of colorful bridesmaids on a wild ride down the road to matrimony. Annie's life is a mess. But when she finds out her lifetime best friend is engaged, she simply must serve as Lillian's maid of honor. Though lovelorn and broke, Annie bluffs her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals. With one chance to get it perfect, she'll show Lillian and her bridesmaids just how far you'll go for someone you love.
For more about Bridesmaids and the Bridesmaids Blu-ray release, see Bridesmaids Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on September 5, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Hamm
Director: Paul Feig
» See full cast & crew
Bridesmaids Blu-ray Review
Should you get hitched to this new Blu-ray?
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, September 5, 2011
Caution, heresy alert ahead: Bridesmaids is not a masterpiece. Sometimes films come along that are so right for their times they are bathed in a critical afterglow that is frankly unbelievable when seen from the vantage point of 20/20 hindsight. And judging from many of the reviews which greeted Bridesmaids upon its original theatrical exhibition, it would be easy to think this film was some sort of modern miracle of moviedom. On the other hand, let's not go to the opposite extreme either, for Bridesmaids is in no way bad, certainly not horrible, and there are only a few missteps that can seriously be stated are major flaws in the overall scheme of things. What Bridesmaids is is an often sharp comedy that manages to wisely meld good, well drawn characters to an often raunchy plotline that makes this a sort of distaff version of The Hangover, a "buddy comedy" that proves you don't have to be male to be a buddy. But would anyone ever accuse The Hangover of being a masterpiece? I think not, and in that regard, Bridesmaids may have gotten at least a somewhat easier critical pass simply by dint of the fact that it's gyno-centric and deals with a female perspective more artfully than other ensemble comedies of recent vintage have. There are two things Bridesmaids does inarguably well. First, it is that very rare sort of comedy that actually gains momentum as it goes along, slowly but surely building its energy and bits to deliver some great moments in the late second act and throughout the third act, points where a lot of comedies are running out of steam and grasping for punchline straws. Second, Bridesmaids firmly establishes Kristen Wiig as the biggest potential female star to spring from the fertile comedic loins of Saturday Night Live sinceŚwell, maybe forever, as previous contenders like Gilda Radner died tragically young and others like Jane Curtin decided the small screen suited their talents and/or ambitions better.
Wiig portrays Annie, a thirty-something single woman reeling from a recent failed bakery business enterprise, and involved in an equally disastrous affair with a self-absorbed quasi-misogynist named Ted (Jon Hamm of Mad Men). The only bright light in Annie's sad little life is her friendship with childhood best bud Lillian (Wiig's SNL castmate Maya Rudolph). The two have the easy rapport built over years of knowing each other, and they easily call each other out on each other's baggage. Annie also has a close if problematic relationship with her mother (Jill Clayburgh in her last role before leukemia claimed her much too soon), a woman who attends AA meetings and sponsors people (including Annie's boss at her post-bakery jewelry store gig), despite the fact that she doesn't drink and has no substance abuse problems of any kind.
Annie's fragile states of mind and emotion are sent into devastating turmoil when Lillian suddenly announces she's engaged, wants Annie to be her maid of honor and also wants Annie to help plan the showers and wedding festivities. While Annie has extremely mixed emotions about the whole thing, she agrees but is almost immediately thrust up against a sort of perfect nemesis in Lillian's fiance's boss' wife (yes, that's a lot of possessives), Helen (Rose Byrne), a woman who makes no bones about the fact that she's intent on becoming Lillian's new best bud. That sets up the central tension of the film, as Annie's increasing desperation to hold on to the one anchor in her storm tossed life leads her to an escalating series of bizarre behaviors, while at the same time Helen looks on with sanguine disapproval and manages to "out-friend" Annie at virtually every turn.
And that very tension is where Bridesmaids derives the bulk of its humor as well as becomes too predictable for its own good, at least some of the time. Once the competition is set up, you know without even thinking about it that virtually everything Annie tries to do will backfire, and everything Helen does will be like something out of the most lavish Home and Garden spread imaginable. Because of this, there's no surprise for large stretches of Bridesmaids, and individual bits tend to go on too long at times (the competing toasts at the first party are a good example). None of this means the film lacks laughs, for Wiig and the talented supporting cast play this material for all it's worth and they do manage to land a number of great deliveries along the way. But as with a lot of films built around SNL skits (not that this is one of them, mind you), Bridesmaids has the tendency to feel like a 5 minute bit that has been padded to fill two hours or so (kind of a long running time for a lightweight comedy in any case).
Okay, so that's the bad news. The good news is that the film is artfully constructed despite its predictability and it is graced by some fine performances all around, especially by Wiig who emerges here as a major star and will probably be the heiress apparent to "Jennifer Aniston rom-com syndrome," should she choose to go that path. (Wiig rather ironically looks a bit like a cross between Aniston and Aniston's real life romantic nemesis Angelina Jolie). Wiig as might be expected gets the comedy stuff down pat, both the verbal humor and several choice bits of slapstick (her insane tear through Helen's picture perfect backyard has some great physical comedy in it). But Wiig also manages to convey the hurt beneath Annie's weird outbursts, and that's what gives Bridesmaids its deeper emotional impact (such as it is in a semi-raunchy comedy like this). If Wiig's screenplay (co-written with Annie Mumolo) gives short shrift to Annie's "bottoming out" and paint by numbers healing process, Wiig the actress invests it with some real humanity and delivers a wonderfully heartfelt performance that is both funny and charming in equal measure.
The supporting cast here is aces all the way, with Byrne's Helen perfectly officious and fake-sweet in that patrician sort of way that makes you want to murder her. Rudolph is also wonderfully goofy but real as Lillian, caught between her childhood friend and this new prima dona who hints at a glamorous new life which may be available to Lillian if she plays her cards right. The rest of the bridesmaids are a hoot, including Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), a harried mother to three boys who has one of the best gross out lines in the film dealing with male bodily fluids; Becca (Ellie Kemper), Rita's polar opposite, a dewy eyed newlywed who is saccharine sweet and firmly ensconced behind her rose colored glasses; and perhaps most hilariously Megan (Melissa McCarthy), a hefty girl full of bizarre non sequiturs who nonetheless turns out to be just what Annie needs to pull herself out of her doldrums. There are also very nice turns by Matt Lucas and Rebel Wilson as the absolutely bizarre brother-sister roommates of Annie, and an especially nice performance by Chris O'Dowd as a policeman who pulls Annie over for a traffic infraction and then attempts to start a relationship with her.
Bridesmaids is a film that may not have completely deserved its rapturous critical acclaim, but it is also a generally solid piece that may not aim for the stratosphere but at least delivers on its smaller scale ambitions with a fair amount of flair and hilarity. Wiig may be a bridesmaid in this film, but she is obviously primed to be the bride of major film stardom in the coming years.
Bridesmaids Blu-ray, Video Quality
Is there any more schizoid studio than Universal currently releasing Blu-rays? While Universal continually offers substandard catalog releases, it just as reliably does knockout work on newer titles, and that's certainly the case with Bridesmaids's AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.40:1. The image is beautifully filmic, nicely textured, sporting excellent color, brilliant depth of field in several establishing shots of Milwaukee and Chicago, and an overall wealth of fine detail. In fact, Rudolph's less than perfect complexion may have a bit too much fine detail for some viewers, but it's a good indication of just how sharp and clear this image really is. There are a couple of niggling concerns that keep this from a perfect score, including some minor shimmer on trees and some minor crush in a couple of nighttime sequences. Otherwise, though, this is a very solid offering filled to the brim with pop and nuance, with lushly saturated colors and a well defined and precise image.
Bridesmaids Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Bridesmaids' lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is a surprisingly boisterous affair, with an equally surprising amount of consistent surround activity. While the dialogue for the most part plays out firmly anchored in the front channels, several larger group scenes teem with sonic activity around the side and rear channels, and there are a number of excellent panning effects utilized throughout the film (listen for example to the bit with Wiig and Byrne repeatedly driving by O'Dowd late in the film). Ambient environmental effects are nicely placed throughout the soundfield and a couple of unexpected sound effects liven up the proceedings (the foley effects accompanying the girls' bout with "indigestion" are notable). Fidelity is excellent throughout this track, and the overall mix, while a bit busy at times, is enjoyable and very well balanced.
Bridesmaids Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Bridesmaids Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I was frankly nonplussed by Bridesmaids' opening 20 minutes or so and wondered what all the critical hubbub for this film had been about. But as the film continued, it grew substantially on me and became that rare comedy that actually improves substantially as it goes along. It's certainly no huge innovative masterpiece, but it nicely molds the Apatow anarchistic raunch-fest gross-out ethic onto a more female-centric point of view and it features a bevy of great performances. If it's a bit kinder and gentler than some other films bearing the Apatow imprimatur, that's certainly nothing to be ashamed of. This Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic and it boasts a wealth of supplemental material, and comes Highly recommended.
Bridesmaids: Other Editions
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