“Gut-bustingly funny!”(Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly) From the producer of Superbad, Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin comes the breakout comedy critics are calling “brazenly hysterical!” (Alynda Wheat, People).
Thirty-something Annie (Kristen Wiig) has hit a rough patch but finds her life turned completely upside down when she takes on the Maid of Honor role in her best friend Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding. In way over her head but determined to succeed, Annie leads a hilarious hodgepodge of bridesmaids (Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper) on a wild ride down the road to the big event.
After watching 'Bridesmaids,' the latest hard-R comedy to become a huge box-office success, I understand why it's constantly referred to as the female version of 'The Hangover.' The connection is an easy one to make, especially with one moment of weakness where the story suddenly shifts toward some possible Las Vegas debauchery. But as if in an unconscious effort to be something different, something better, the filmmakers land that plane and return the focus back to the mid-west shenanigans of Milwaukee. And the movie is actually better for it. Sure, it's edgy and raunchy, with the usual physical shticks we've come to expect from the genre, but it's also intelligent and heartwarming, with a poignant drama at its core, self-consciously hiding beneath all the gross-out sight-gags.
Like that funny sequence on the airplane, much of 'Bridesmaids' comes packed with cleverly subversive details that create expectations, but abruptly go in the other direction. From a script co-written by the film's star and 'SNL' alumni Kristen Wiig ('MacGruber,' 'Paul'), the movie is a laugh-out-loud riot with a great cast of lovable characters, but the plot's best quality comes from its use of convention. We start with a weirdly amusing sexual encounter with the highly-conceited and obnoxiously rude Ted (Jon Hamm of 'Mad Men' fame) which leads us to believe this will be a standard rom com. The best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announcing her engagement cements that outlook, but an awkward confrontation with Helen (Rose Byrne) at the engagement party quickly reveals there's more at stake in this silly comedy.
Director Paul Feig, who is better known for his work in television, most notably as the creator of 'Freaks and Geeks,' seems to be in on the joke, delivering a quirky but workmanlike romp. He, too, takes advantage of genre structure to push forward a rather unconventional feature that effortlessly transcends labels, especially any attempt to brand it with derogatory terms like "chick flick." As single Annie (Wiig) struggles with her new responsibilities as the Maid of Honor, audiences are clued into the dynamics of female friendship. Granted, the movie does touch on issues of love, with a romantic-interest subplot in Officer Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd), but it definitely doesn't shy away from exposing how spiteful, mean-spirited, and catty women can sometimes be to one another, ultimately sabotaging very close relationships.
Added to that, we have a well thought-out and surprisingly smart narrative centered around Wiig's Annie and her personal journey to overcome a self-destructive mid-life crisis. Having difficulty finding the right partner, and after a failed attempt to run a bakery, her spirits have clearly been crushed. With her best friend's life going in the opposite direction, and feeling threatened by Helen's uppity contacts, things just keep growing worse for Annie. The film provides Wiig with the opportunity to demonstrate that she, too, is more than a five-minute skit character actor. She exposes a great deal of emotion and heart in her portrayal, which only makes 'Bridesmaids' all the more appealing. When we finally reach the inevitable conclusion, it feels genuine and well-deserved, largely thanks to Wiig's performance.
Although the zany comedy arrives with lots of visual jokes and crass wisecracks, much of the laughter comes from the dialogue and character interactions. Several conversations feel spontaneous, creating an air of unexpectedness. This is likely due to Wiig and co-writer Annie Mumolo's background in improvisational theater. The movie carries that sort of impromptu energy where anything and everything goes. Other than being a good way to maintain viewer engagement, this also keeps audiences on their toes since the jokes come fast, and it suits the plot's genre-bending approach perfectly. 'Bridesmaids' is hilarious, heartwarming, and hands-down the best comedy of the year.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Universal Studios Home Entertainment debuts 'Bridesmaids' to Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack. A DVD-9 copy of the movie sits comfortably opposite the Region Free, BD50 disc inside the usual blue keepcase with a lightly embossed, cardboard slipcover. Included is a code to download a digital copy via the movie's official website. The Blu-ray disc also contains both the rated-R theatrical version and the unrated extended cut with an added five minutes of vulgar raunchiness. At startup, viewers are bombarded with a series of internet-based trailers and an odd promo demonstration for the InStyler rotating hot iron. Afterwards, we have the standard menu selection with alternating stills and music.
'Bridesmaids' delivers the laughs with an excellent 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (2.40:1), allowing the ladies more of an opportunity to show off their raunchy sides.
The high-def transfer comes with a beautiful, squeaky-clean appearance and a golden, amber sheen, giving the film a quirky but upbeat air that's very pleasing. I'm sure it's a deliberate choice in the photography, but the overall palette is quite energetic and vibrant with terrific saturation levels in the primaries. Contrast is spot-on and comfortably bright, and the picture displays outstanding clarity from beginning to end. Blacks are generally rich and accurate with remarkable gradational detail during nighttime, poorly-lit scenes, adding a good deal of depth. One or two sequences don't hold up quite as well where shadows fall a tad flat and murky, but it's not enough of an issue to ruin the movie's enjoyment. Fine object and textural details are exactly what we'd expect from a comedy with strong, clearly-defined lines around clothing, hair and architecture.
On the whole, this comedy parties it up on Blu-ray with a first-rate presentation.
The bridesmaids move their crazy bender over to the audio section with this equally excellent DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.
Admittedly, this isn't the type of design that rattles walls or wake neighbors, but for a comedy, it's quite enjoyable with imaging that feels expansive and very inviting. The whole soundstage possesses a satisfying and rich quality, with well-balanced channel separation and terrific fidelity. Though not very extensive, dynamic range is noticeably warm, with marvelous clarity, adding to the design and song selection. Bass also doesn't leave an overt impression, but there are just enough low-frequency effects to provide the track with a bit of weight and presence, appropriate to the movie's genre. With so many scenes made of whispered jokes and asides, dialogue is remarkably precise and intelligible so that we never miss out on the humor.
Fans should absolutely love this audio track.
Universal is giving fans a good variety of purchasing options, with the day-and-date Blu-ray release being the best of the bunch. A Digital Copy of the theatrical version is also made available to those buying a DVD combo pack which contains the unrated extended cut.
Director Paul Feig delivers gut-busting laughs with the winning comedy 'Bridesmaids,' the surprise box-office smash about a group of women preparing for their friend's wedding. From the wild imagination of Kristen Wiig, along with fellow improv artist Annie Mumolo, the film is a hilarious, genre-bending raunchfest, one with lots of heart and smarts, easily making it this year's best comedy. The Blu-ray debuts with an excellent audio/video presentation and a wealth of supplemental features that will keep fans busy for hours. The package as a whole is a highly recommended purchase for those who loved the movie and remains equally recommended for anyone wanting a good laugh.