Annie (Kristen Wiig) is a 30-something bachelorette struggling with a battered sense of self after the combination of a failed relationship and a failed bakery business. As a result she allows herself to be used by Ted (John Hamm) as a convenient and easily dismissed fuck buddy, and goes about life directionless in a job she clearly hates. To add to this, her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announces she is getting married, promising to make her life even more miserable by forcing her to have to go it alone.
While Annie is no doubt a sad character, and therefore allows the movie the option of becoming a potential sobfest, there is little to make you feel such. This is a comedy after all, written by the people who made Super Bad and 40 Year Old Virgin, so that means the situations and dialogue are hilarious. The fact it doesn’t turn into a ‘woe is me’ is a testament to Wiig, who is plainly brilliant in playing a familiar character to all of us – the 30 – something, down and out, unclear future single woman.
As Annie, Wiig is flawless. You cheer for her during highs and feel anger and pain during her lows. You will empathize with her character more than you have ever felt for another. She is that clueless friend that gets into relationships with the worst possible types of men, makes a scene at parties, battles for Lillian’s attention along with bridesmaid – from – hell Helen (Rose Byrne), shuns the right guys and just does all the wrong things. Yet you continue to wish the best for her, and hope that she holds on to her sanity long enough for that proverbial second wind.
The rest of the cast is no slouch either. Rose Byrne plays the manipulative and micro managing Helen who sabotages Annie’s plans and steals the role of Maid of Honor at Lillian’s wedding. From the first moment she appears on screen, she steals the scene in a black, flowy gown that could not have spelt ‘bitch’ better than if she had written those letters on her head. I particularly liked Megan, played by an amazing Melissa McCarthy, who performs an unconventional intervention on Annie that proves to be the pivotal scene that brings light to all that is wrong with her. Despite how unique that was it remained believable if not altogether refreshing and enjoyable.
There are hundreds of movies that tackle the same theme albeit with variations. Just now Anna Faris will soon launch her ‘What’s Your Number?’, and the other day I caught Jennifer Lopez’s ‘The Back-Up Plan’ on HBO, which had her lead character pregnant, but still going through the similar ‘getting old now what do I do’ situation.
It’s clear to me no other movie to date has hit the nail on the head as Bridesmaids. Everything clicks here, but none more so I think, than the excellent writing. In real life, melodramatic situations abound, but performances that properly enact these few and far between. This movie is a comedy that happens in and around sad moments. Pretty much like how life really is, and that’s what makes it work for me.