Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bridesmaids: A Chick Flick With An Edge

Courtesy - The Sunday Leader - By Sumaya Samarasinghe
While walking past a wedding taking place at one of Colombo’s five star hotels, my friend looked at the over- made- up -bride and her smiling groom,  turned to me and said, “It will be all over in two years!”
Some would say realistic, others would say cynical; for me, I just saw millions of rupees spent on satin chairs decorated with giant size bows, average food and hundreds of guests whom the bride and groom probably did not know.
This is supposed to be the happiest day of your life but often turns into a nightmare from hell and worse, leaves your family completely bankrupt.
Chick flicks, with marriage as the main theme, often blissfully omit the issues of cost or how time consuming and nerve wrecking a wedding can be.
Bridesmaids directed by Paul Feig and produced by Jude Apatow to whom we owe comedies  such as Knocked Up, is like a firecracker which deflates all fantasies of a fairy tale wedding.
The film is about a perfectly decent group of women who begin to behave really badly, practically as terribly as their male counterparts in  The Hangover; as one of the ladies gets ready to tie the knot.
There are no Anne Hathaway’s or Kate Hudson’s in this movie and no one looks like a pretty Barbie doll. We are talking real people here starting with the heroine Annie who is in her mid or late 30’s, single, has a purely sexual relationship with the self-absorbed and nasty Ted (Jon Hamm from Mad Men) who cannot stand it when she sleeps over.

Her bakery business has gone bust, her long time boyfriend has left her and she shares an apartment with two really creepy looking siblings. To make a living she sells engagement rings in a small jewelry store and generally sends her customers running out with her cynical and dark sales talk. As Annie’s wonderful mother says, hitting rock bottom is sometimes a necessary step in life and one can only empathise with Annie who just does not seem to be getting a break! Annie’s mother is played by the late and great Jill Clayburgh who sadly died of Leukemia before the film was released.
The only thing which keeps Annie happy and sane is her friendship with Lillian (Maya Rudolphe), her childhood friend who announces that she is going to get married. As expected, Lillian asks Annie to be her maid of honour and to start by meeting the other bridesmaids.
With this begins a series of screw ups, some of them completely crude and hilarious, others which could have been edited out. The string of disasters begins at a Brazilian restaurant picked by Annie, just before the four bridesmaids and the bride are supposed to go for a dress fit on at a super classy bridal shop.The beautiful and snobbish Helen (Rose Byrne)  the rich and controlling wife of the groom’s boss who is quite obviously competing for Lillian’s friendship and the organising of the wedding is the only one who does suffer the embarrassing and messy consequences of food poisoning from the meat eaten at the restaurant.
The other bridesmaids include Lillian’s cousin Rita the blasé and exhausted mother of three teenage boys, Becca a goody two shoes friend and the groom’s raunchy and funny sister Megan played by a particularly in form Melissa McCarthy.
The second major mess is the bachelorette party which Annie wants to organise in Lillian’s parents lake house, but her idea is quickly overruled by a majority once again controlled and influenced by Helen who decides that Vegas would be more fun. The flight is a disaster but more than anything it shows a visibly worried Annie who is financially strapped but yet has to spend money she does not have because of the pressure linked to the wedding.
Revealing the entire plot would take away some of the funny moments. All the characters, even the secondary ones are well written and the viewers do get a clear idea of where they come from. Men are there vaguely floating in the background and not always the nicest, but thankfully a good guy with a heart and a high level of sensitivity appears in the form of a cop, Nathan (Chris O’Dowd), nice guys can fall through the cracks…sometimes.
There are lengthy moments, overly crude ones and Annie’s meltdown when she sees that Helen has stolen her theme for Lillian’s bridal shower may seem a little over the top. But on the whole, Bridesmaids is pretty funny and though it may not show women at their best angle, it is probably way more realistic than so many other wedding movies.
So yes, my friend may be right, marriages may not last long, but step number one would be to survive the wedding preparations!
The film is rated R.