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Bridesmaids (Blu-ray Review)

16 Sep, 2011 By: John Latchem

Street 9/20/11
Box Office $168.8 million
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray combo
Rated ‘R’ for some strong sexuality and language throughout. Unrated version also available.
Stars Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm.

Here’s a label most films of its kind would avoid like the plague, but which Bridesmaids earns with pride: the raunchiest chick flick ever.

Really, though, it’s more like a parody of a chick flick. It has all the hallmarks, with an impending wedding and a plethora of relationship issues. But it’s also raunchy enough to fit in with the family of comedies produced by Judd Apatow (and is, in fact, the biggest moneymaker of the bunch).

What’s interesting here is that star Kristen Wiig co-wrote the film, crafting a clever and often hilarious vehicle to showcase comedic sensibilities she routinely displays on “Saturday Night Live.” She plays Annie, a luckless thirtysomething whose best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph, another “SNL” stalwart), is getting married. As the maid of honor, Annie tries to plan the usual shower and bachelorette party, but finds she has little in common with Lillian’s other friends, especially Helen (Rose Byrne), who insists on planning everything herself.

Helen is a vapid socialite who puts live butterflies in invitations, gives away puppies in gift bags and has a servant passing out glasses of delicious lemonade to guests for the trip down her ridiculously long driveway. She refuses to eat at the restaurant Annie picks out, and thus is spared a bout of food poisoning later at a bridal fitting that rivals Dumb and Dumber for the scene that most demonstrates an urgent need for a toilet.

And when they announce they’re heading to Vegas, you wonder if this really will be a female version of The Hangover. Except, they never make it to Vegas, thanks to nervous flyer Annie spazzing out on pills and scotch and getting everyone thrown off the plane in Wyoming.

Like most Apatow movies, though, Bridesmaids has a real heart pushing through the gross-out humor.

Here it’s Annie as the embodiment of that feeling of isolation that comes when your friends get married and your lives start to drift apart. And it probably makes a more poignant use of a scene from Cast Away than did Cast Away itself.

Bridesmaids isn’t the deepest film, and you can see its major story points and jokes coming from a mile away (which is probably how long Helen’s driveway is). Its general pattern is to wallow in situations of awkwardness that build to a really hilarious payoff, and then repeat the process to the next big punchline. But when it’s funny, it’s really funny.

Wiig in larger doses can be an acquired taste. She has a tendency to take her characters too far sometimes, which just makes her seem annoying and can push a scene longer than it needs to be. But for the most part she’s charming and sympathetic.

Bridesmaids, at more than two hours, is already a bit long for a comedy, and the unrated cut is five minutes longer. The only real difference is the inclusion of a blind date for Annie, which is very funny for a superfluous scene. There’s another blind date in the deleted scenes section, featuring Paul Rudd in a hilarious bit of angry improv.

The extras are a lot of fun, starting with a lively group commentary with the cast, director Paul Feig and co-writer Annie Mumolo. Most of the extras are deleted and alternate takes, gag reels and montages of improvised lines.

If there’s an issue with the disc, it’s with the load times, which like a lot of Universal Blu-rays seem to take forever. We get a couple of trailers — though it’s kind of neat that BD-Live can give us new ones as time goes on — and then a two-minute infomercial for the Instyler, a hair-styling device. Just get me to the main menu, already!

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