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Bridesmaids, the Movie: Overpromise left me feeling flat

The movie critics raved about Bridesmaids, describing it as a watershed moment for the portrayal of female friendships on the big screen.

 

New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis wrote:
"…The movie is smart about a lot of things, including the vital importance of female friendships."

 

Wall Street Journal critic Joel Morgenstern wrote:
"If this is only a chick flick, then call me a chick. Witty, raunchy and affecting, "Bridesmaids" crosses boundaries by blithely ignoring them."

 

So why did it disappoint me?

_______________________ 

 

First, in case you haven’t seen it or paid attention to the trailer, here’s the storyline in brief (no big spoilers):

 

Lillian (played by Maya Rudolph) is about to get married. She chooses her childhood friend Annie (Kristen Wiig) as Maid of Honor for the big event.

 

Annie still hasn’t made an even moderately successful transition to adulthood. She lives with quirky English roommates, has a jalopy of a car, and recently lost her bakery business in Milwaukee. She’s working in a jewelry store in a dead-end job that her mother arranged for her. She’s involved in an emotionally unfulfilling sexual relationship with Ted (hunky Jon Hamm from Madmen) and doesn’t seem able to connect to one of the more solid people in her life, Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd). She’s a bit jealous and insecure about her best friend getting engaged and walking down the aisle while she’s stuck.

 

In steps another member of the bridal party, Helen (played by Rose Byrne), who is Lillian’s other "best friend." Helen seizes control of the wedding planning to show Annie up and win the coveted role of Lillian’s BFF. She’s everything Annie isn’t: a wealthy, well-organized, and polished member of the country club set married to the bridegroom’s boss.

 

This sets up a conflict among Annie, Lillian and Helen with some mildly funny antics that mock over-the-top weddings.

_______________________


Bridesmaids did raise some important issues about female friendship:

 

• Yes, when friends get married, it can destabilize long-term friendships. It represents a big change in both the life of the bride-to-be and the lady-in-waiting, and in their relationship with each other.

 

• Yes, threesomes among women are tough to negotiate. It’s easy to get into a competition and everyone wants to be the "best friend."

 

• Yes, some weddings are over-the-top and some brides lose their judgment as the big day approaches. The Maid-of-Honor role can be a hard one to handle, even off-screen.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I love to laugh. I love wedding farces. I think Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph are really funny (on Saturday Night Live). I love the idea that this story about women was written by two women. I love the predominantly female ensemble cast. I agree that weddings don’t always bring out the best in us. Yet, while somewhat entertaining, this slapstick comedy was too long, too silly, and a little too graphic (think gastrointestinal upsets) for my tastes.

 

Perhaps, if I had only gone to see it only for laughs, I would have come away more satisfied. Bridesmaids showed the landmines of female friendships but shed little light on how to avoid them.

 

 

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Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I just watched this movie at home (though I know it was out months ago, so I’m late to comment and probably no one will notice!) I agree that it was set up to be a comedy and probably taking it too seriously will not be worthwhile. However, it is about female friendships, and that’s what this blog is about so I understand why some have commented as above. I found myself having a strange reaction and that’s why I wanted to add a comment – though it was generally a comedy, at one point in the movie I found myself bursting into tears and feeling ridiculous! It was the way Annie began to feel very out-of-touch with her BFF: they were no longer laughing at the same things together, which made Annie feel as though her friend was ‘moving on’ and leaving her behind in the process. I so understood how painful this is: the things that made you and your BFF laugh together or roll your eyes at are suddenly serious to your BFF and she now sees you as ‘immature’ for still laughing at it, etc… when the BFF relationship starts to fall apart, that is how it feels – why arent we laughing together like we used to? how come I am feeling abandoned, not seen as ‘good enough’ for her anymore? It has been extremely painful when I have gone through this a couple times with various BFFs through the years. Maybe these particular landmines in female friendships are NOT avoidable, if most BFF relationships fall apart eventually. Anyway, I’m late to comment but I just couldnt believe how sad the movie made me at certain points.

  2. Hillary says:

    I loved this movie! It was hilarious. If I wanted a story about female friendships I’ll look for a documentary, not a comedy. Going in with high expectations and research before hand will always disappoint you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I enjoyed it, except a couple of awkward parts that just dragged on and on. It could have been better, but it could have been worse (at least it wasn’t as bad as Tron).

    I agree with Julie’s comment: movies like this, no matter how good, doesn’t focus only on the friendships – there has to be a boy involved.

    One of the exceptions was I Love You Man, which was refreshing almost.

  4. Sara U says:

    I loved the movie so much! I laughed a TON and also cried. Your review of the movie had a lot more positive sentences than negative ones, and I think the main reason you were disappointed is because you had too high of psychological expectations. It is a COMEDY! If I judge it based on what it IS, it gets two huge thumbs up from me!

  5. Julie says:

    Why do female friendship movies (chick flicks) have to be centered around weddings, and relationships with men? I get the feeling from the review that, at heart, this movie is all about the Menz: getting one, keeping one, and throwing other friendships to the ground. Even the famed movie “The Women” had EVERYTHING to do with the men. That’s all the movie was really about. Not the women. The men, even though there was hardly one in the film.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have a hard time bringing myself to see that movie and, like you, i love to laugh and i love the SNL women. I lost my best friend when I asked her to be MOH for my wedding. It’s not always a quirky comedy. It can be downright heartwrenching

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