IN a season of sequels and comic book sagas, it’s a welcome relief to see an original screenplay kick-start the summer.
Written by and starring Saturday Night Live stalwart, Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids has been mentioned in the same breath as The Hangover for its obvious nod to a wedding disaster.
But that’s essentially where the comparison ends, and happily so.
Where Todd Philips’ hugely successful tale of a batchelor-party-gone-bad was laugh-out-loud funny, Wiig’s wit spans a spectrum of comedy touching on the wonderfully understated to the hilariously slapstick.
When down-and-out Annie (Wiig) learns her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is engaged, she reluctantly takes on the role of maid of honour.
In her care is a “stone cold pack of weirdos” – a gaggle of odd-ball bridesmaids whose bizarre personalties do nothing to ease the rocky road to matrimony.
Broke, unemployed and constantly made to feel worthless by the utterly charmless Ted (John Hamm), the added pressure of organising pre-wedding parties sends Annie over the edge.
Out of her depth and jealous of Lillian’s new bessie mate, the perfectly groomed Helen (Rose Byrne), Annie hits rock bottom at the bridal shower when she has to fight her way out from underneath a giant capsized cookie.
While Bridesmaids owes a debt to films like The Hangover – least of all for the literal toilet humour in the ill-fated bridal shop scene – it has more substance at its core.
The complicated minefield of female friendship is picked apart, exposing the inner turmoil behind the thin-lipped smiles of women trained to grit their teeth.
But even the most composed of peace-keepers eventually crack, and while Wiig’s meltdown is unashamedly wild, it’s Helen’s teary whining that offers the funniest line.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen you look ugly,” says Annie with glee.
If only women could be honest more often.