Directed by: Paul Feig
Written by:Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Jill Clayburgh, Jon Hamm
Released: June 16, 2011
Grade: A-

I recently had to fill out an application form to obtain online access for a work bank account.  As part of the process, I was asked to provide answers to a few security questions (in case I ever forgot my password).  One of the questions was – “what is the name of your best friend?”  It certainly left me thinking.  Do I have someone in particular who I would consider a “best” friend?  Or do I just have a group of really great friends, with no standout?

This very same question is explored with comedic effect in Bridesmaids.  Lillian (Rudolph) is engaged to be married and she has asked Annie (Wiig) to be her maid of honour.  The two have been close friends since they were kids and have always shared their inner-most thoughts and secrets.  Unfortunately, with Lillian moving to a new city, they no longer get to see each other very often.

As the wedding preparations begin, Annie suddenly finds herself competing for Lillian’s attention.  It’s not the groom who is getting in the way.  Rather, it’s one of Lillian’s new work colleagues, Helen (Byrne).  Helen comes from a very wealthy family and has been spending a lot of time with Lillian over the past few months.

The fireworks begin during the speeches at the engagement party.  Annie steps up and delivers a short, simple toast.  Helen then steps to the stage and goes one better – delivering a heartfelt account of the bond between herself and Lillian.  Annie then returns to the stage… and, well… you can probably see where this is going.  Both are trying to outdo the other and prove that they’re Lillian’s true best friend.  The awkwardness of the situation will leave some audience members laughing hysterically and others cringing with horror.

It’s a contest that Annie wishes she wasn’t involved in.  She’s got enough problems as it is.  Annie lost all her savings in an unsuccessful cake shop business and she’s now living with two rude, inconsiderate flatmates.  Her love life is perhaps the biggest mess.  She’s current seeing a guy (Hamm) who isn’t even remotely interested in a long-term relationship.

Bridesmaids has been aptly described as “The Hangover for women”.  Spurred on by strong word of mouth, the film has pulled in more than $100m at the U.S. box-office in its first 4 weeks.  That’s not bad for a film with no big name actors!  I’m sure many will see it for its gross-out moments but I was more impressed with how the film captures the fragility of its imperfect characters.

It’s the first time we’ve seen Kristen Wiig (Paul, Whip It) in a leading role and she is fantastic.  Annie is a sweet girl and you want her to be happy but it’s hard to feel too sympathetic given so many of her problems are self-inflicted.  The film’s other memorable performance comes from Melissa McCarthy as Megan, sister of the husband-to-be and a member of the bridal party.  She gets the best of the lines and is funny throughout the entire movie.

The film’s only weakness is its length.  It’s not often we see a comedy clock in at over two hours and I don’t think there was enough material to justify it in this instance.  A few of the jokes are overly drawn out and some of the subplots (such as the annoying flatmates) didn’t seem to add much value.

With plenty of laughs for both guys and girls, Bridesmaids is going to please a lot of people.