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Review: 'Bridesmaids' surprises as smart, bawdy romantic comedy

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Directed by: Paul Feig

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm

Rated: R

“Bridesmaids” is a film that people will, no doubt, refer to as a chick flick. I will freely admit I like this genre a lot, and a more proper term for this type of movie is romantic comedy. From early classics such as “It Happened One Night” and “Bringing Up Baby” to more recent films “Annie Hall” and “When Harry Met Sally,” a well-written romantic comedy will always make me laugh, while at times bringing a tear to my eye.

“Bridesmaids” is a great example. It's funny, warm and sentimental. And with Judd Apatow acting as producer, it also has a good deal of his patented bawdy humor. He's not really raunchy, but he does add a bit of borderline naughtiness to his comedies (“Superbad,” “Knocked Up” and “Get Him to the Greek.”)

The film also is right at home (albeit with female characters) with Todd Phillips' “The Hangover.”

All of the girls here are sweet and saucy, and Apatow brings an air of the “buddy” movie formula to a female-oriented romantic comedy.

Kristen Wiig of “Saturday Night Live” fame stars as Annie. Wiig also co-wrote the screenplay. Annie's “BFF,” Lilian - played by another SNL alum, the always warm Maya Rudolph - is getting married and has asked Annie to be her maid-of-honor. Annie is honored and starts planning for the best possible wedding for her friend.

Lilian also has invited four other close friends to be bridesmaids. This shouldn't be a problem, but one of the women, Helen (Rose Byrne), thinks that she is Lilian's BFF.

Helen is also a complete control freak and starts to take over every aspect of the wedding plans.

Annie has just been dumped by a boyfriend and feels like her life is falling apart and that she really needs to be in charge of the wedding plans. Helen, who has known the bride-to-be for less than a year, decides that she is going to be in charge.

Annie and Helen are classic screen versions of oil-and-water adversaries. Byrne and Wiig go for the throat, and they are a great team of rivals. Catty is the word that best describes Helen. Annie is simply out of her element with too many personal problems. Even she realizes she's focusing more on her life than her best friend's wedding.

The other bridesmaids are Becca (Ellie Kemper), a rather naïve newlywed; Megan (Melissa McCarthy) an unabashed free spirit who has no concept of self-censorship; and Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), a hottie who may be past her prime.

The women and their relationships make up the core of the story, but there are subplots that involve men.

Lilian and her beau are about to get married. Becca honestly believes she is happily married. Helen dominates her husband. Rita is having trouble coping with her three teenage sons. And Meagan? Her relationships are too hard to describe (and the funniest ones in the movie).

Annie's having trouble finding a meaningful partner and soul mate. She's involved with a smarmy, self-centered man who treats her like dirt. But she takes it.

Then, as fate would have it in a film such as this, she gets stopped for speeding and flirts with the cop. They hit it off, and he's just about the only decent male in the movie. Chris O'Dowd is absolutely engaging as Officer Rhodes. He's a gentle and complex character, and it's apparent that he and Annie were made for each other. The only things standing in the way are themselves. Annie has been hurt so many times that she can't trust any man. Rhodes desperately wants her but realizes he has to give her the space she needs to emotionally breathe.

The third act features the wedding rehearsal, the wedding and the romantic loose ends being tied.

I really enjoyed “Bridesmaids.” I found it both funny and - when it needed to be - very sentimental.

Anyone who enjoys a romantic comedy, with a streak of smartness and a bit of bawdiness, will love this film.[[In-content Ad]]


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