Thursday, July 21, 2011


Suit Us Up

Help! I may be losing my sense of humour, which I fear. While many have found The Hangover and its Part 2 really funny, somehow I'd hardly classify them as really being comedies of their respective years since there are padded moments that doesn't do the story any good, while at times having scenes which were really engineered and came across quite artificially. The same goes for Bridesmaids, widely touted to be the female version of that Todd Philips directed series, and in the same vein, suffered a similar fate in having the expected play out as they should, and nothing more.

Not that I'm expecting rocket science, but the story does indeed take a leaf out of The Hangover, borrowing its basic setting of an impending wedding, coupled with a celebrity finale that is as formulaic as how most wedding dinners here are conducted - you get the fanfare introduction of the appetizers, before a rather bland main course topped off by noodles or rice, followed by desserts before everyone forms a beeline for the doors.

Written by Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig, the latter /who also stars as the leading character Annie, this film could have been labelled as a singular rather than a plural entity, given varying degrees of screen time granted to the rest of the entourage. Annie is that neurotic woman who cannot seem to get her act together, being a flop in her confectionery business, a flop at her sales work, in total disarray for having entered into a f*ck buddy relationship with a rich playboy, and in arrears with her apartment rental. We only know that she's best friends forever with the bride to be Lillian (Maya Rudolph) and has been tasked as the maid of honour, which is where the whole film revolves around.

Not. Despite its wedding theme, there is only a handful of scenes related to the run up to a wedding, such as the fitting out for gowns in an expensive shop which provided some of the best scenes in the film, a bridal shower and of course the expected finale for a film like this. The rest of the scenes felt like glue, being there piece the disparate scenes together so that it can flow from joke to joke. On the jokes front, there's a good mix of verbal jousting and slapstick, which came complete with the obligatory toilet humour, and plenty of potty mouthed characters who think that swearing equates to funny. Obviously some worked while others tanked, with brilliant ideas all utilized in a single setting, leaving mediocre ones to prop up the rest, which was a pity.

The real crux of the film, one which actually made me appreciate and enjoy this a lot more, is its theme of the rich and poor divide given the presence of Helen (Rose Byrne) as the antagonist, being extremely loaded, and for reasons to be unveiled which had nothing to do with Lillian's wedding, if at all, having set up to be Annie's chief rival to be well received, and recognized as Lillian's BFF. It addresses how sometimes money can be used to buy emotions, affections, friendships and all things superficial, but when it comes to the crunch, nothing beats sincerity and a keen interest without having baggage such as ulterior motives. Sure there were a couple of engineered scenes to bring this up in not so subtle terms, but I guess when used in the context of weddings from the female perspective, meaningful things can be built without the need to always resort to material wealth, though of course the latter, together with personal connections, sometimes help, and that's the ugly truth.

Surprisingly the story was allowed to wander all over the place, to allow Annie to get involved romantically with a cop (Chris O'Dowd) naturally in contrast to her f*ck buddy, but also to provide some comic relief no matter how brief those moments actually became. I suppose no flick chick can entirely omit this aspect in a film with the absence of that proverbial Prince Charming type, so O'Dowd served the purpose complete with his Irish accent used to sound exotic and to provide a very small talking point in the film. A trip to Las Vegas got set up as well but for all the fanfare expectation, everything got centered around the airplane journey which was included in the trailer, and somehow overstayed its welcome.

If only the film had avenues to bring in the other bridesmaids, especially Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey into the picture, it would have been more inclusive since they won't fade away as unimportant, disposable caricatures. Even Melissa McCarthy had it lucky to have a jarring, comeback moment of sorts to engage the audience directly, being the equivalent of Zach Galifianakis in his turn in The Hangover though less annoying, to literally slap some sense to the protagonist and preach ideals and values to the audience out there. It's a pep talk alright about self confidence and self pity, mildly amusing though not contributing much to the story anyhow.

Still, the film lived up to its marketing billing of The Hangover equivalent for the female crowd, and it shows, despite venturing into gross out territory centered in and around a bridal shop, which personally contained the best moments of the film. Call me crass but at least my laughter was sustained in that setting alone, which bumps this film to Recommended status.

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