Blu-Ray Review: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy Shine in ‘Bridesmaids’

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CHICAGO – Warm, hilarious, silly and especially honest, “Bridesmaids” is the best, knock-out comedy of the year. Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph lead a cast that proves you don’t need testosterone to do a funny, sometimes gross-out comedy. What’s necessary is character, timing, set-up and execution, and this wedding party has it all. Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0

Whether watching the special “unrated” version or the theatrical release, Bridesmaids delivers the goods by tackling universal themes, and also dares to go into territories U.S. films rarely touch, such as psych-damaging depression and the class/wealth differences in America. This pathos fuels the comedy and the comedy expands in accordance with how the characters play all the emotions, particularly as we get to know them.

Kristen Wiig is Annie, a woman stuck in a dark valley in her life. She has a empty friends-with-benefits relationship with Ted (Jon Hamm) and a bakery business that has just failed. Her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph), Annie’s rock and salvation, announces that she is engaged, and wants Annie as her maid of honor. Although Annie is slightly jealous about this happy news, she agrees to perform the functions of her rank, and meets the rest of the Bridesmaids at a lavish engagement party.

L-R: Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-McCovey and Kristen Wiig in ‘Bridesmaids’
The Bridal Party, L-R: Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-McCovey, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig in ‘Bridesmaids’
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

There is Becca (Ellie Kemper), a perpetually smiling newlywed. Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), who throws out icy-cold reality checks regarding home and family. Megan (Melissa McCarthy) is a confident, take-no-prisoners adventurer (”I bought an eighteen wheeler…just because I could”). And finally Helen (Rose Byrne), a wealthy, beautiful and perfectly organized rival against Annie for Lillian’s friendship and event planning. Throw in a potential boyfriend cop (Chris O’Dowd), and get them to the church on time.

Kristen Wiig, often a one-note player on Saturday Night LIve, turns in an Oscar worthy performance as Annie, from a script she co-wrote (with Annie Mumolo). The character is positively Chaplin-esque, mining comedy from her down-and-out station, both psychologically and materially. Her speech pattern, all mumbles and low self esteem, works by also having that patter provide commentary, often extremely funny. It is a fully realized character, anchored by her truthful expression of jealousy, depression and manic acting out.

The rest of the cast is stellar, perfectly suited for their roles. They each get their moments, and Melissa McCarthy – who just won an Emmy playing Molly in TV’s “Mike and Molly” – is a marvel of comic virtue as the plain speaking Megan. Her rousing of Annie from the deepest pit of depression will be replayed in dark, ice- cream-container-strewn rooms for years. Rose Bryne remarkably never wavers from her perfect miss role, even when Annie and her team up. It is her ugly crying look that makes Annie feel even more sunny.

’Bridesmaids’ on Blu-ray September 20th
‘Bridesmaids’ on Blu-ray September 20th
Photo credit: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

There is love and forgiveness in this film, based on the simple understanding that humans are flawed, they miscommunicate, they can be jealous and there is always the feeling that the “other side” has the perfect life, and your life sucks. It can be true, but then again it’s not. Bridesmaids plays both sides of that fence, creating laughs because what results from all that misdirected emotion and wasted distress is funny. And yes, strange British brother-and-sister roommates, a caddish Jon Hamm and a cop who says “Really!?!” can also generate a few guffaws.

The Blu-ray package includes both the “unrated” version and theatrical release, regular DVD and digital download with extras that include extended, alternate and deleted scenes. The usual audio commentaries, gag reels, behind-the-scenes featurettes and lots of extra wacky stuff round out the accessorizing, but it will always be the film itself that makes the whole thing worth it.

Another bit of genius is that the first thing every gushing bride will do is buy multiple copies of Bridesmaids for the woman standing up in her party. Multiply that by thousands of weddings per year and the bells that are ringing will be the cash registers ka-ching-ing.

”Bridesmaids” is released on Blu-ray and DVD by Universal Studios Home Entertainment on September 20th. Featuring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Jill Clayburgh, Elle Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Chris O’Dowd and Rose Byrne. Screenplay by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumulo, directed by Paul Feig. In Unrated and Rated “R” versions. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2011 Patrick McDonald,

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