Coming into 2011, Bridesmaids looked like it might be another in a string of recent Judd Apatow-related misfires. But appearances are deceiving as the film quickly found an audience and was one of the biggest hits of the summer. Boo-yah for director Paul Feig, and co-writer and star Kristen Wiig. They nailed it. The film is a charming and real look at a woman in her thirties whose best friend (Maya Rudolph) is about to get married, and how friendship can be strained – but is often resilient – during such stressful but happy times. Our review of the Blu-ray of Bridesmaids follows after the jump.
Annie (Wiig) is going through a rough patch. She opened a bakery, but the recession killed her business, and she’s been working at a jewelry store – a job she got through her mother – while her roommates (Matt Lucas, Rebel Wilson) are unpleasant. Her best friend Lillian (Rudolph) thinks her relationship might be going through some difficulties, but then finds out her boyfriend’s coldness was because he was about to propose to her. And Lillian wants Annie as her maid of honor.
That plan starts well, but Lillian’s newest friend is Helen (Rose Byrne) who is everything Annie’s not. She’s rich, she’s polished, and she’s superficial. From their meeting, Helen has her eye on becoming Lillian’s new best friend, and the troubles start immediately as Helen undercuts every decision that Annie wants to make for the Bridal traditions. Of course some of it is Annie’s fault – she picks an out of the way location for a bridal dinner, and everyone gets food poisoning.
Annie is also having a rough go of her love life. She’s been dating Ted (Jon Hamm) and he’s really good looking – but he treats her like shit. She does meet Officer Nathan Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd) and they have a great chemistry, but every attempt he makes at bringing out of her funk makes her run away.
If Bridesmaids has a superficial problem it’s that what Annie’s going through is realistic enough to hurt to watch. She’s in a bad place, and it’s real – not movie BS – and you can empathize with her to the point that watching her life fall even further into depression and bad decisions can be hard to watch. But that’s also what makes the film great. It’s a film that never goes for the easy laugh at the character’s expense, and you can love these characters more than anyone Katherine Heigl’s played in the last couple years.
If the film has a real fault, it’s that director Paul Feig seems to have little to no visual panache. This is very much of the Apatow school of “point and shoot the funny person” and so you never get a great visual feel to the movie, but it’s a minor quibble for a film this funny. And the supporting players (from Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemperand Melissa McCarthy as the fellow bridesmaids, to ringers like Michael Hitchcock) all bring their A game.
Bridesmaids is available in both the theatrical (125 min.)and unrated (130 min.) cuts – the differences are minor. The film is also available (in the theatrical cut) on DVD and digital download. The Blu-ray is presented on Blu-ray in 5.1 DTS-HD surround and in widescreen (2.35:1), and looks gorgeous. But the mian reason to get the Blu-ray over the DVD are the boatload of extras.
The film has a commentary by director Paul Feig, co-writer Annie Mumolo and stars Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi-McLendon-Covey, and Ellie Kemper. They joke about drinking water while watching the movie which suggests they’re a couple sheets to the wind while recording, but it’s a fine track, which suffers a little from having too many people. There’s a making of (32 min.) which covers the script’s development and the filming, and a gag reel (10 min.), but the mian draw is the ten sections including additional and extended scenes (140 min.). Yes, that’s right, there’s a feature worth of deleted footage on here. And in that footage was a Paul Rudd cameo (wisely) cut from the movie. Much of it is alternate takes where the cast riff on a central premise, but most of the takes are pretty funny, so it’s fun to watch..