For her penultimate film, Caitlin Kiley decided that she was going to show us a movie that just plain makes her laugh – and given that she has spent the last several months working feverishly on her dissertation, I guess that’s OK. But first, she cued up a short that is five parts ridiculous and one part only silly:
Basically, it’s a charity song that really, really, really needs the setup to work. Fortunately, you get the setup.
But the feature presentation needs very little setup at all. It’s the 2011 film Bridesmaids directed by Paul Feig, and it’s basically The Hangover done by female SNL alums, except with less hotel room tiger action. Why don’t we get right to it?
Lillian (Maya Rudolph) and Annie (Kristen Wiig) are lifelong BFFs, so the movie has to find some way to introduce some tension between them. Presto! Lillian gets engaged!
Of course, the engagement itself is not the tension-inducer. Rather, it’s the fact that Lillian’s engagement forces Annie to come to grips with the fact that she has other friends, including the ridiculously-rich Helen who basically turns the entire wedding preparations into one long game of one-upswomanship. Helen’s pretty new on the scene, so it’s understandable why Annie doesn’t like her trying to horn her way into the BFF slot, which isn’t really open, you slut!
The wedding party is an eclectic crew, though the bookenders in the image above (the young and innocent newlywed Becca and the older and jaded mother of teenage onanists Rita, respectively) play relatively small roles. But the moment you see that the groom’s sister Megan is played by Melissa McCarthy you pretty much know this movie is getting raunchy.
Raunchy starts with Annie taking the group out to a churrascaria before they do their dress fitting expedition. (Note that the employee of the dress store snobbishly insists that there’s a several week waiting list until she realizes that Helen, the face that launched a thousand veils, is in the party. They get a walk-in.) Food poisoning ensues, and the “Don’t Mess On The Dress” moment above may be the PG-13iest of the entire scene. So that’s one check mark for Helen and one black eye for Annie.
Next up comes the bachelorette party, which is supposed to happen in Vegas. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but sometimes you don’t even get to Vegas, because upon learning of your flying anxiety the BFF impostor gives you a large dose of sedatives and encourages you to wash it down with alcohol. Needless to say, Annie had a bit of a problem staying in her seat, forcing the TSA agent on board to divert the plane to Wyoming. But hey, bus rides from Wyoming to Chicago also make for pretty interesting stories. Oh, and Annie is quickly getting herself distanced from any position of responsibility in the wedding party.
Of course, this isn’t the only disaster going on in Annie’s life. While trying to wean herself off of a jerk with benefits, she hits it off with Nathan, a cop who pulled her over on suspicion of drunk driving. It turns out that it was only inferior driving and before too long they’re an item. But this sort of intimacy is too much for Annie, and she sabotages the relationship at about the same time that the rest of her world is falling apart – she loses her deadbeat job at a jewelry store (this is after already having lost all her money before the movie started by trying to open a bakery during a recession), she gets kicked out of her apartment by some loser roommates and has to go back and live with her mother, and of course she’s ruining the wedding party and getting her BFF card revoked.
So when Helen one-ups her I-don’t-have-any-money-but-here’s-a-pastiche-of-all-the-stuff-we-did-together-in-high-school bridal shower gift with a trip to Paris, it’s understandable that Annie loses her chocolate. She gets herself kicked out of the wedding and she doesn’t even get a party favor. But to be fair, the Helen-style party favors were puppies, and Annie wasn’t exactly in a good place to regularly feed an animal or go walkies right about then, so this probably was a merciful development.
But if you think this movie is going to end on a down note, you’ve never watched a movie. How would you write the ending? I’d probably write it so that Lillian disappears on the morning of her wedding and the interloper Helen is forced to enlist Annie’s help to find her. Furthermore, I’d kill two birds with one stone and have Annie be forced to enlist her ex-boyfriend cop to use his police resources to track her down. And while the whole thing is going down, I’d have Helen and Annie make up after Helen tearfully admits that she has no friends and she thinks people only invite her to do things because she can drop a fat wad of cash on them. Then I’d let them find Lillian so she and Annie could make up and there could be a lavish wedding with Wilson Phillips singing at it and the cop boyfriend would make up with Annie who now realizes that her self-destructive ways are stupid and they’d all live happily ever after in a bakery. Of course, since that’s how the movie pretty much turns out maybe I’d be a kinda predictable screenwriter. The end.
There’s really not much denouement to be said about this film. I kind of felt like I was watching the SNL Alum version of Requiem For A Dream, in the sense that Annie starts about as low as you think she can possibly go (for an SNL Alum film) and then things just spiral downhill from there. But it’s a funny film, and while it has its fair share of raunchy/scat, if you don’t take it too seriously (and it definitely doesn’t take itself that way) then it’s a decent ride. Not an E-ticket, to be sure – more like one of those Fantasyland rides that your dad would take you on at the end of the day to use up the Ticket Book and that you didn’t want to grudgingly admit that you kind of liked anyway. Yeah, that’s this movie.