By Henry P. Raleigh
ART TIMES online June 2012
I know I’m running against the tide here. Everyone I know loved it. It was one of the biggest hits of the summer and would eventually rank among the top moneymakers of 2011. By late fall the movie had picked up best picture nominations from the Producers Guild, best screen play from the Writers Guild and best ensemble from the Screen Actors Guild. This was “Bridesmaids” and maybe it missed adding in some Golden Globes nonetheless it was right up there in Oscar nominations — Most Original screenplay and best supporting actress. Ok, a few people weren’t in love with it, the Oscars went elsewhere, still it had made the nominations and that’s like winning the silver.
Among the less than enchanted, I must tell you, was me. Oh, “Bridesmaids” was not a bad film by any measure, right up there with the best movies in a familiar and well worn genre — you know — young adults acting like goofy adolescents in contrived situations, the sort popularized by television sit-coms. Well, that’s not surprising considering that most of the cast and writers are sit-com alumni. Watching “Bridesmaids” conjures up scenes from Reno 911, Saturday Night Live, The Office, and Up All Night — it could easily be an unusually long pilot for a sit-com. Where the genre seemed to belong to the ‘boys-will-be-boys’ crowd and its preoccupation with utter stupidity and abundance of toilet jokes, “Bridesmaids” stakes out its claim for the same. Certainly a strike for equality but a rather dubious gain, even more questionable if the film, as one critic had it, is a work of “female driven intelligence”. Of course this is why I missed the boat, as it were, possessing a gender inappropriate intelligence as well as one reluctant to be driven. Another critic in E. W. found the film “... showing contemporary feminism anxiety and romantic yearning” — so I guess I’ll have to pass on that one, too. I did find Kirsten Wiig, star and co-writer, a charming comedienne, a sort of debauched Meg Ryan, and somewhat saddened to see Jill Clayburgh in a bit role of a ditsy mother. I can recall Ms. Clayburgh in better days, a leading lady in 70’s films as “An Unmarried Woman” when anxiety and romantic yearning were seen somewhat differently.
Although Ms. Wiig has indicated she has no interest in a “Bridesmaids” sequel its spirit will surely live on in an indie Sundance Festival entry “Bachelorette”, a film about a bride, her bridesmaids friends, chaos, and bitterness. It’s a comedy.