Top performances make this one of the funniest films this year.

Released in 2011, certified UK-15. Reviewed on 23 Aug 2011 by Scott Morris
Bridesmaids image

The elevator pitch of "The Hangover - but with girls!" is understandable, but one that really didn't have any appeal to me. The trailer didn't help in the slightest, but not exactly because it mis-sells or mis-represents the film as often happens in this game. In the context of the film, the selections used in the trailer are funny. Outside of it, they are repulsive.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. That said, there's not exactly a great deal more in terms of plot I can relate that isn't immediately understandable with "The Hangover - but with girls!". When Annie (Kristen Wiig)'s best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) decides to marry a wealthy banker, Annie is selected to be maid of honour, with all the attendant duties that, er, attend that. Help pick the dress, organise the hen night, so on so forth.

If things went swimmingly, there wouldn't be much opportunity for comedy, so of course everything Annie touches turns to shit very quickly, and in one case literally. The stress and strain this puts on the relationship between Annie and Lillian drives her closer to her prospective husband's seemingly perfect inlaw Helen, opening another angle of conflict to get some comedy milage out of. We've also got Annie's burgeoning romance with highway cop Nathan Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd) to ruin for comic effect, which is more than enough to be getting along with.

And it does far more than simply get along, because Bridemaids is, if memory serves, the best comedy I've seen this year. As with any of these films, a compelling narrative isn't the primary reason to watch it - although it's a got a stronger and more sensible story than anything of the Todd Phillips comedies.

The characters, while exaggerated as befits the genre, are grounded in believability and the rivalries and friendships show a great chemistry. The performances are perfectly pitched and the comedy writing is at least as good as anything the Phillips or Apatow stables have ever produced.

As with most comedies, there's not an awful lot to say about them other that whether I find it funny or not. I most certainly did, and if you have shown any inclination at all for the sort of films that fall under whatever umbrella term we're using for Hangover-like R-rated comedies these days ('gross-out' seems to have thankfully faded, but I'm aware of no suitable replacement) then Bridesmaids is a must-see.

Paul Feig
Cast list:
Kristen Wiig (Annie)
Maya Rudolph (Lillian)
Jessica St. Clair (Whitney)