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Movie review by Neil Sadler

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Matt Lucas, Jill Clayburgh
Director: Paul Feig

To say that BRIDESMAIDS is something a little different is a bit of an understatement. When I was describing it to a friend they asked if it was a chick flick. True it concerns women and for the most part the men are very much secondary characters. In fact for a film about a wedding, the bridegroom doesn’t utter a word. But this is a film produced by Judd Apatow and it combines much of the same crass humour but also heart and smart that have made him the golden boy of modern US comedy.

BRIDESMAIDS is a story about friendships between women and the highs, lows and rivalries that those friendships go through. It is testament to the great writing and performances though that, as a man, I could both empathise and see the differences in these relationships. I also laughed out loud throughout most of the film and even got a bit emotional at one point (thank goodness for dark cinemas!)

It tells the story of Annie (Kristen Wiig) who having lost a business and a partner seems at the lowest point of her life. When her oldest friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announces she is marrying her boyfriend, Annie soon finds herself competing for maid of honour as well as Lillian’s friendship and trying to prevent her life sinking lower.

One of the great strengths of BRIDESMAIDS is the truth of the central relationship. Annie and Lillian talk and act like the oldest of friends. Both are attractive but you never feel like they are not real people, and this has been one of Apatow’s strengths. Just as Seth Rogen and Jason Segel are everymen so Kristen Wiig is the put upon every woman one step away from living with her caring but bitter mother.

A lot of the comedy revolves around typical bridal issues, the hen party, the wedding fittings and the bridal shower and all these situations manage to raise the stakes, from shitting in the streets to a wrestling match with a giant cookie and a chocolate fountain. They do so with wit on every level – sweet and tender to crass and loud.

It is a little too long and we go through a few tangents. Matt Lucas has a bizarre cameo as a strange landlord with an even stranger sister. And Chris O’Dowd is an interesting choice as the cop who fancies her. This relationship seems too unlikely when it starts so it is a testament to him and Wiig that is one of the areas that lifts the film above a sick fest and gives it the heart that just about justifies it’s running time.

This is a film of humour and heart. A comedy of the best sort that may seem squarely pitched at a female audience but is as universal as all great comedies should be.

5 out of 6 stars