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Universal Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 9/20/2011
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/11/2011
The job of a Hollywood producer can often be a nebulous and vague one. For many movies, the producer is simply a name in the credits and we assume that they worked behind the scenes to bring together the money and the talent. Conversely, there are producers who clearly have a hand in the film's overall feel and they leave their indelible stamp on it. Judd Apatow is such a producer and the comedies which he's helmed over the last several years definitely have a vibe which identify them as one of his movies. He's become the Jerry Bruckheimer of comedy. The problem for me is that most of these movies (save the ones starring Will Ferrell) have left me cold. Bridesmaids marks a departure for Apatow, as it gets away from the "buddy" movies which have made him a fortune.
Kristen Wiig stars in Bridesmaids as Annie, a woman who is down on her luck. Her venture of owning her own bakery failed, and her roommates (Matt Lucas and Rebel Wilson) are both pushy and repulsive. She occasionally sees Ted (Jon Hamm), but he's made it clear that he doesn't want a relationship. When Annie's best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) gets engaged, Annie is ecstatic for her. However, Annie soon realizes that things are going to change, as Lillian is marrying into high society. This hits home when she meets the other bridesmaids; Becca (Ellie Kemper), a naive newlywed; Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), a bitter mother of three; and Megan (Melissa McCarthy), a brash and masculine woman. But, worst of all is Helen (Rose Byrne), a pampered woman who is trying to position herself as Lillian's new best friend. Annie takes an immediate disliking to Helen and the two begin to compete over the wedding plans. As Annie can't match Helen's financial advantage, she hopes that connection to Lillian will win out in the end.
Based on the trailers and the familiar faces in the cast, I had expected Bridesmaids to be more of an ensemble piece, but it isn't -- this is Kristen Wiig's movie. Not only does she star in the film, she also co-wrote it and served as one of the producers. As a regular viewer of Saturday Night Live, I'm very familiar with Wiig's work and I enjoy her in small doses. (I love the Penelope character and that baby-handed woman.) However, I've also seen Wiig try out characters and skits which go nowhere and aren't funny. Well, Bridesmaids is two hours of that. While Wiig may be a talented comic actress, she also has extremely limited range. She can work around this fact in short skits on SNL or in the cameos which she's had in other movies. However, as the featured player in a major motion picture, her limitations shine through and thus, we are treated to scene after scene of her doing the same thing over and over. I can only assume that those who praised her work in this movie don't watch SNL, as there was nothing new here.
Thrusting Wiig into the forefront means that the promising background players don't get much time in the spotlight. The one bright spot in the movie are the quirky supporting characters, most notably Becca and Rita. However, if you really examine them, you can easily see that Becca is simply the female version of Jack McBrayer's character fromForgetting Sarah Marshall, and Rita acts just like Vince Vaughn from __________ (fill in the blank with any movie in which Vaughn plays a man who hates commitment or children). This second-look really diminishes their impact. The true star here is Melissa McCarthy as Megan. Best known for her work on Gilmore Girls, McCarthy shows a completely different side here, bringing us a woman who acts like a man, even down to her libido, but isn't a lesbian. Yes, her crassness offers cheap jokes, but at least they're jokes.
Which brings me to the most important point -- Bridesmaids is woefully unfunny. As the movie was a box office smash (and the most successful for Apatow), I hadn't expected it to live up to the hype, but I had expected it to at least be humorous. However, for the majority of the running time, I sat stone-faced, wishing that Wiig would quite mugging and that something genuinely amusing would happen. There were a few chuckles, but nothing like what I'd expected. Speaking of the running time, like most Apatow movies, Bridesmaids is too long. The length doesn't get any help from the running jokes and the scene in which Wiig is trying to get the cop's attention is simply torture. I'd seen Bridesmaids referred to as the female answer toThe Hangover. While that movie didn't live up to the hype either, at least it was funny. Women should be ashamed of Bridesmaids, as it doesn't try to beat the guys at their own game -- it simply stoops to their level by offering a hackneyed story idea, copy-cat characters, and attempts at gross-out humor. I'm leaving Bridesmaids at the altar.
Bridesmaids does get small kudos for the casting of Jill Clayburgh as Wiig's mother on DVD courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing only trace amounts of grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good, most notably the pastels, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail leaves something to be desired, as the image is a bit soft at times. Artifacting and video noise are present, but not distracting. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects work well, as sounds moving from side-to-side in the front channels nicely match the on-screen action. The surround sound effects are a tad subtle for my taste, but they are present during crowd scenes, and they arise from musical cues. Given that this is a comedy, we don't get much in the way of subwoofer effects.
The Bridesmaids DVD contains several extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Paul Feig, Co-Writer Annie Mumolo, and actors Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Ellie Kemper. The DVD contains three DELETED SCENES which run about 8 minutes. This includes a completely new series of scenes with Paul Rudd, which go on for over 5 minutes, and just like the rest of the movie, aren't funny. He should be glad that this was cut out. The third deleted scene actually contains a line which is almost funny. There are five EXTENDED & ALTERNATE TAKES which run about 8 minutes. This is just more of the same, although "ham slacks" was an interesting surprise. "Line-O-Rama" (12 minutes) is two reels which show various scenes where the actors try out different lines in scenes. We get a four-minute GAG REEL. Finally, there is the "Cholodecki's Commercial" (1 minute), featuring Annie's boss.
Review Copyright 2011 by Mike Long