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movie review: Bridesmaids

by Leonard Maltin
May 13, 2011 4:20 AM
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That sound you hear is me, heaving a sigh over yet another two-hour comedy that’s got about an hour of good material spread thin. Some smart, talented people collaborated on the film, including director Paul Feig (who’s also a good writer), producer Judd Apatow, and screenwriter and star Kristen Wiig, who created the script with Annie Mumolo. They clearly believe in what they’re doing, but judging from the results they can’t see the forest for the trees. I’m not even sure they can tell one tree from another; this mishmash of comedy styles and dramatic moments wanders all over the place. (It’s easy to see why. Like last year’s Get Him to the Greek and other Apatow productions, this one exposed—

—over a million feet of film as Feig encouraged his improv-savvy actors to cut loose and try variations of every scene. The picture was then cut and pasted together in the editing room.)

Is it funny? Yes, at times, and its female-centric theme will appeal to many women. I just hope they have the patience to trudge through the slow spots and story detours. Bridesmaids, which might as easily bear the title Women Behaving Badly, wants to be funny, relatable, serious, heartfelt, broad and outrageous all at once. It sets up six women—the bridesmaids of the title—but gives two of them virtually no screen time, while incidental characters are assigned extraneous traits and comedic tics. There’s no discipline to a movie like this, so its good points get smothered in the big picture.

We must also confront the question of whether audiences want to see women acting as crudely as men often do in gross-out comedies. I tend to vote no, although I didn’t despise the last major female raunch-fest, The Sweetest Thing with Cameron Diaz, as some people did. There aren’t any rules where comedy is concerned: all that really matters is whether or not it’s funny. (OK, being coherent doesn’t hurt, either.) If you’re ready for fairly graphic vomit and diarrhea jokes, and like the stars of Bridesmaids, you may be more forgiving than I am.


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  • Matthew | December 24, 2011 1:19 AMReply

    For me, this movie was a mess.
    The script is merely a series of skits / sketches strung together by Kristen Wiig's heartfelt performance. She wastes her talent with material that gives the appearance of weight, but goes only surface level. The other problem is that the movie looks like it was shot on video by amateurs or film students. At least the first Sex and the City movie looked professional.

  • LMisaflake | October 26, 2011 4:22 AMReply

    Two of the six bridesmaids had virtually no screen time? I counted five bridesmaids, Leonard, and they all had lots of screen time. The movie was fine, it’s your review that needed better editing.

  • I agree | October 24, 2011 8:50 AMReply

    Janice sounds like an old c*nty b****

  • JD Stutts | September 22, 2011 6:01 AMReply

    Wow Janice, you sound like a real unpleasant humorless troll; seriously you and Leonard "Old Fart" Maudlin should hook up and watch humor-impaired movies like I Don't Know Why Sarah Jessica Horseface Gets Work, Something So Borrowed and Contrived Only Kate Hudson Can Star In It, and Any Poorly-Directed Piece of Merde Directed By Spike Lee!

  • Janice | September 8, 2011 5:03 AMReply

    I walked out of this movie a little over half-way through. Life is too short.

    As a female, I thought the "humor" was juvenile, crass, and tiring--definitely not fresh or funny. The only scene that made me laugh was the work-out scene in the park, but I was the only one in the theater laughing.

    Your review was very gracious and even-handed, but on target enough that I will consult your reviews next time I head out to the theater.

  • Amy | January 14, 2012 6:37 PM

    Janice, your reaction was exactly the same as mine. I had high hopes for this movie and just now rented it On Demand, but I only made it through 25 minutes before I deleted it. To me, the "humor" was predictable and not funny at all, nor did I find any of the characters appealing or interesting. The engagement party scene, especially where the two women kept trying to upstage each other to prove who was most important to the bride, was like a bad SNL skit. That's when I finally gave up. Maybe there were some better scenes ahead, but I wasn't willing to sit through the rest of the mess to see them.

  • Heather | July 8, 2011 10:18 AMReply

    "We must also confront the question of whether audiences want to see women acting as crudely as men often do in gross-out comedies."

    What a sexist comment. Guess what, Leonard? MILLIONS OF PEOPLE DO!! Goes to show how utterly worthless your opinion is. No one's heeding your advice, old man. This movie is an enormous hit, despite sexist creeps like you who only want to see women behave in a "ladylike" manner.

  • KXB | July 6, 2011 5:01 AMReply

    You know who's the real Michael Bay of comedy, Q? Garry Marshall (though that may be an unwarranted insult to Mr. Bay, actually)- his "comedies" are horrible (Valentine's Day, Raising Helen, the inexcusable Exit to Eden, the overrated Pretty Woman), and his dramas (Georgia Rule, The Other Sister) are no less putrid! As for Judd Apatow, he's the modern-day Mel Brooks if anything (remember how "scatalogical" he could get, esp. for that time?), and may be even better (hell yeah, I said it!)...

  • Todd | May 22, 2011 12:40 PMReply

    Dead on review of this movie. I don't understand why so many of your peers loved this movie. The only thing I can think of is that they see Apatow attached to the flick and are blinded. It had funny parts, but it was a mess of a movie. As Leonard stated, the movie tried to be too many things. Chickflick, gross-out, romantic comedy, tragedy...

  • Clare | January 18, 2012 3:18 AM

    After listening to all the hype about this I finally watched it today and was disappointingly underwhelmed. Its come to this that some women think they have a completely even footing with men because we too can be leads in a movie and make lavatorial jokes and cuss - and then some women feel they are now equal also because they can express that they think movies like this are funny. And why is it they picked the one fat woman in the cast to do the most gross joke of pooping in a sink..why couldn't it have been one of the other bridesmaids - one of the slim ones...then try and get off the hook by letting her be the breath of commonsense and only friend to the lead...way to go to promote stereotypes. Really brilliant. There's all kinds of funny but I am amazed this vomit and poop production even got a Golden Globe nomination. Is there no way to make funny movies without stooping to basic bodily excretory functions...come on.

  • mike schlesinger | May 17, 2011 11:31 AMReply

    A MILLION feet of film? That's over 200 hours! A 100-1 shooting ratio. You'd have to screen dailies ten hours a day, five days a week for nearly a month to watch everything just once. And then you'd spend months in the editing room wading through all this footage trying to find the movie that's in there somewhere. Whatever happened to cutting in the camera? Whatever happened to the well-written script? (Or as I.A.L. Diamond once said, "Films should be edited in the typewriter.") This is a prime reason why movies cost so much nowadays, as well as why so many of them are lousy.

  • Liz | May 15, 2011 7:05 AMReply

    I thought it was hilarious! As a woman, I found it so refreshing to see woman being funny in the ways that men are usually funny in movies, I loved how crude and gross it was!

  • Anon | May 14, 2011 8:16 AMReply

    While I agree that the movie had its low points (one I couldn't even watch without gagging) I am so glad to finally see a modern comic movie about women who aren't just all pining for love or playing stupid pranks on one another to "get even". As a woman, I found the main character completely relate-able. She's down on her luck, has to be a maid of honor (an expensive, time consuming and often stressful position), and is dealing with one of the most female issues in friendships: the feeling that your friends are growing, changing and moving on from you.

    Perhaps this wasn't the most intelligent comedy of the decade, nor the most funny, but it was very different in a good way. It was refreshing to find that this wasn't a comedy where women pull catty pranks on one another. I hope that this movie at least paves the way for more female comedies that don't assume women aren't sometimes crass and that find ways to be funny without only making us laugh at how unlucky in love a girl is.

  • Q | May 13, 2011 10:18 AMReply

    Also, he may be a "smart" business man, but his movies do not even try for smart humor and always go for the dumbest, broadest laughs. He is like the Michael Bay of comedy, replacing explosions and FX for vomit gags and penis jokes.

  • Q | May 13, 2011 9:48 AMReply

    Why do you consider Judd Apatow to be talented when most of the films that he has been attached to are mediocre or worse even by your own standards?

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