Friday, 24 June 2011

171: Review - Bridesmaids

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Bridesmaids Poster

24 June 2011. Location: Cinema

Forget that trailer.

You know the one. You saw it back to back with The Hangover II trailer a few weeks ago. It was the embarrassing, 3 minute groanfest, which promised all the feministic subtlety of a drunk woman grimly singing 'I Will Survive' at a karaoke, and looked as if the only funny lines in the film would be coming from The Fat One™. It was the trailer that suggested the film had been crafted partly in Universal Studios' Friday afternoon meeting, and partly in a laboratory.

Hopefully, the person who cut that trailer is back to sweeping the floor now, because against all my expectations, this is a good film. And trust me, I've had two good reasons to have my expectations lowered this week.

Bridesmaids isn't without its faults; it's not a two hour movie. By which I mean, it is a two hour movie, but it shouldn't be. The pacing's all over the place here. It starts slowly, finds its groove, but then keeps getting stuck in the ruts of setpieces which are needlessly long (the plane sequence being a prime example). And with regards to the first twenty minutes of the film, the almost-complete lack of any background noise/music makes for an awkward pause after a few poorly delivered 'let's set the raucous tone of this sassy movie!' jokes.

But, as I say, it settles down nicely into a standard buddy-com. All credit to the writers who really have made the script and plot appeal to men and women alike (not that you'd guess that from the godawful trailer). Great performances from all the lead players, who manage to engage the audience nicely and fit the jigsaw well. I'm not entirely sure why Matt Lucas is in this movie (albeit sparingly), other than having someone slightly eccentric to flesh out a minor plot point. Oh, and regarding his 'sister'; audiences in the US may not be able to tell the difference between a British and Australian accent, but the rest of the world can, okay?

Speaking of accents, Chris O'Dowd plays his usual likeable curmudgeon character as Rhodes, a road-cop. What the hell was his accent doing in his first few scenes? Had the director told him to twang it up a little so he sounded like an Irish Cop who'd been in America for a few years? Because he drops it pretty sharpish after that. Also, when Kristen Wiig's Annie asks him how he can be a US Police Officer if he's not a US national, I'm not sure if her character* is ignoring the fact that the 'stereotypical' NY Cop had an Irish accent for many years, or ignoring the fact that people from outside the US can become citizens of the US (* and when I say 'her character', I mean 'the writers'). Maybe I'm just reading too much into that...

The Good: The cast. They make a potentially pedestrian film very watchable. The dress-fitting scene also amused me greatly, but that's because I have an infantile sense of humour. Melissa McCarthy does get all the best jokes, but that's not to put down the rest of the film too much.

The Bad: A few awkward moments when the jokes don't quite pan out as the writers had intended. Gaps are left for the audience to be laughing over before the next line comes in, but when an audience doesn't react like that, the whole thing just judders to a halt. Oh, and that scene near the start with the speeches and the microphones, and the trying to one-up each other goes on for about 3 minutes too long.

The Ugly: Did they actually go to Vegas for the bachelorette party? There's the overly-long plane scene, followed by an unplanned landing due to turbulence and the rest of the journey taking place on a bus, but we don't see anything of Las Vegas. They're just all back at home after that. Maybe it was cut to avoid comparisons with The Hangover (because lord knows, the trailer didn't suggest any of those…), or maybe I'd started to zone out after the 'oh look, I'm drunk/high/abusive on a plane… no, look at me… can you see me yet?' thing.

All in all: When it's on-form, it's absolutely on fire. In the dips in between? It's still watchable, given what's surrounding it. It's not going to win many awards, and you won't get much out of repeat viewings, but definitely worth a gander.

It's not quite worthy of a 6, but I don't give half-marks, so...

…did I mention that the trailer's shite?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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