by Hugh Fisher
Where to begin with “Bridesmaids,” the new movie co-written by, and starring, Kristen Wiig of Saturday Night Live?
When I was a kid, I’d take different colors of Play-Doh and smush them together. Eventually, all that would be left was a ball that wasn’t really one color or another, just a mass of several competing shades.
That’s “Bridesmaids,” which can’t figure out if it wants to be a teen gross-out movie or a romantic comedy, and ends up being a weird hybrid of the two. Maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for this mad dash of toilet humor, sex jokes, over-the-top characters and hammy acting.
We’re supposed to feel sorry for Annie (Wiig), whose life is in the toilet right now. Her cake shop has closed and the closest thing she has to a boyfriend is a wealthy sleaze who insults her. She now works in a jewelry shop where she’s forced to act out sentiments of eternal love and friendship she doesn’t believe in.
When her childhood BFF Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announces she’s getting married, Annie’s excited to be the maid of honor – that is, until Helen (Rose Byrne) shows up. Helen is Lillian’s new friend, a wealthy, catty woman with a competitive streak.
The two begin jockeying for Lillian’s affections and the right to help plan the best wedding ever. Along the way, we meet the other bridesmaids, who fit a range of female stereotypes that would make my more feminist friends burst a blood vessel or two.
And here’s the problem: This movie can’t decide if it’s about Annie getting her life back together or Annie planning a wedding.
We get food poisoning and losing bowel control in the middle of the street, moms and preteens dropping F-bombs on one another and lots that’s meant to gross us out. I’m fine with toilet humor when that’s the movie’s main object. With “Bridesmaids,” there’s too much that’s cloyingly sweet mixed with too much that’s really gross for me to be entertained.
I’m not going to go into the poor editing, the random location shifts and the gratuitous shoehorning of ‘90s band Wilson Phillips into a cameo. (I’m assuming Wiig is a fan.)
On my way out of the theater, I was asked if I thought Wiig would start to get some serious roles now that she’s starred in and written this film. I thought back to the scene where one bridesmaid relieves herself in a sink and I thought, “She’s got a prayer.”
Still, there are some honest-to-God belly laughs in this movie. And I like the movie’s sarcastic take on extreme wedding rituals, like a bridal shower where puppies are given away as party favors.
If you try to take this movie seriously, you’ll be disappointed. If you like the movies that fellow SNL alum Will Ferrell makes, you’ll be right at home.
But if you go anyway and end up hating it, to quote Wilson Phillips, “You got yourself into your own mess.”
So did Wiig. Let’s see if she can do better with her next movie.
Grade: 1/4 Stars