You don’t have to look much further than my poetically written Summer Movie Preview to see that Bridesmaids, a comedy following the hijinks of an engaged woman and her Bridal Party as they prepare for the happiest day of one her life, has been designated a referendum on whether or not Chick Flicks can suck. Of course, Chick Flicks can potentially kick just as much ass as anything else out there, but with the awful aftertaste of Sex and the City 2 still stanking up the category a year later, it’s inexplicably rare for them to work.
But Bridesmaids works not only as a Chick Flick, but as a comedy in general that, even though it may follow women during a stereotypically feminine event, fails to seem any more appropriate for chicks than dudes.
The film stars and was co-written by Kristen Wiig, a staple performer from Saturday Night Live, who’s never established herself outside of her trademark annoying characters. We’ve known that she can make us laugh, but playing the lead in a comedy is a totally different skillset. Skepticism wouldn’t have been unfounded, but Wiig carries the film with surprising ease; she stays likable even when her character stoops to lows, all without reverting to a safety net of her SNL personalities.
But Wiig gets some help from her supporting cast, including the talented Rose Byrne who, to Wiig’s compliment, rarely plays with comedy (you might recognize her from 28 Weeks Later and Damages).
But the real scene stealer of the film is Melissa McCarthy, the Bride’s future sister-in-law, who seems out of place in so many of the girly events the film is based around. She’s game for it all, but the stout McCarthy, who may be known as one of the leads in CBS’ fatty sitcom Mike & Molly, is more interested in national security, hand-to-hand combat and raising dogs. She’s sincere but intense and aloof, like the character was written for a different film. It’s very likely she will be compared to Zach Galifianakis’ breakout role in The Hangover.
With McCarthy’s standalone performance, Bridesmaids stays firmly out of range from Chick Flick territory, not that it ever feels too effeminate. The characters are defined by universally relatable conflicts – keeping friendships alive, looking on the brightside of life. Even the requisite romance avoids schmaltz, the love interest is more lovable schlub than mysterious strong man.
All in all, Bridesmaids feels like it should be a Chick Flick, but never fits neatly into the catagory. But maybe that’s just because I liked it.