“..the trailer put me off. Looked like they were aiming for the lowest common denominatior. The reviews have been pretty positive and Neil Martin liked it a lot, so I may have been a bit too quick to judge”
Paul Moir – June 23rd, 2011
Above is a quote from a text I received yesterday from my mate Moir when I said I was considering going to see Bridesmaids. Personally, I hadn’t seen any trailers, but noted that it had got some sparkling reviews and I was interested in taking it in at the cinema. When word came through that Neil Martin – lead singer of the Bank Bar’s favourite band, the Violent Whispers – enjoyed it, I thought ‘I may as well go’.
Oh how I regret doing that.
Before we get to the film, I’m going to go on a little rant about cinema starting times…
According to the listings, this film started at 11:30. And yet, by 12:05, the trailers had only just started. I’d had to sit through a 5 minute pitch for something called Red Bull TV – which is about as interesting as it sounds – and then various
adverts for alcohol in which they assure the viewers that going out and getting pissed will save modern society as we know it. Need to socialise? Then drink booze! But make sure to visit drinkaware.co.uk before you do.
So eventually, the film started a full 48 minutes after it was supposed to. Absolutely incredible.
Films should start when they are advertised as starting. If you want to watch trailers, arrive early.
Anyway, I did go and complain outside, and was told “Oh, we’re really sorry. The screen broke down just before the trailers were away to begin, so we just started again from the adverts. But honestly, the film is great, so hopefully that will make up for it”
Well it wasn’t.
And it didn’t.
What’s It About?
Bridesmaids is a film about a 30-something woman called Annie (played by Kristen Wig). She’s not a particularly pleasant woman at any point in the film, but I think we’re supposed to empathise with her. Annie plays the stereotypical ‘Single woman in her 30s’. You know the type – deeply flawed and blaming the world for her issues. Hates men but can’t live without them. Wants a man but he must fit her lofty expectations that she probably got from watching romantic comedies herself. That sort of woman. The ones that men don’t understand and have no sympathy for (at this point you might be able to detect I didn’t like the film that much, but keep going with it…)
Anyway, Annie’s best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is getting married, and Annie is going to be the Maid of Honour. But she has a rival in Helen (Rose Byrne) – a new friend of Lillian’s who is vying to be considered her best friend and wants to be in charge of planning all the pre-wedding stuff. Naturally this causes ‘mayhem’.
As the wedding gets closer, nothing seems to go right for Annie. The restaurant she takes the bride and all the bridesmaids to gives them all food poisoning while they try on dresses. The Hen Party in Las Vegas never gets started because she gets pissed on the plane forcing it to land in Wyoming, and eventually she falls out with Lillian, pushing her closer to Helen, who ends up taking over the wedding planning.
Meanwhile she starts seeing a policeman (Chris O’Dowd) but that doesn’t go that well because she is more used to men who treat her like dirt, and she can’t cope with a man being nice to her.
Finally, it all works out in the end, as everyone ends up friends, Annie and the policeman fall in love and Lillian has a nice wedding. And they all have a sing-song with Lillian’s favourite band, who turn up at the wedding to sing a well choreographed song.
Oh and also, for no reason whatsoever, time is devoted to Annie’s flatmate (the horrible bald bloke off Little Britain whose name escapes me) and his fat sister. I say ‘for no reason’ because its neither funny nor relevant to the plot in any way.
Doesn’t that sound like an amazing film?
Thoughts – Is This the Nadir of Comedy?
I came incredibly close to walking out of this film after 22 minutes. In that time we had the following ‘hilarious’ gags.
- Annie & Lillian doing impressions of a penis
- Fart jokes
- A fat woman who is a source of ridicule because she doesn’t seem to realise she’s unattractive.
- What seemed like 800 jokes about how Annie isn’t married while other bridesmaids are, and people thinking that random blokes standing beside her must have been her husband
- One newly-wed bridesmaid who is very innocent (the sort who literally rubs noses with her husband like an eskimo) juxtaposed against another bridesmaid who is married and hates her life and her kids. According to this woman, kids are evil and her boys leave semen everywhere. And the oldest one is only 9 years old. Hysterical.
- An excruciatingly overlong scene where Annie and Helen try and outdo each other with their speeches at the Engagement Party to show they are better friends. They really trample this joke to death.
- A scene where – for no reason – we find that Annie’s flatmate’s sister has a serious skin infection having got a massive tattoo across her back from a random man in the street. This was followed by the suggestion she take some frozen peas out of the freezer to put on her back, which she duly did. She poured the peas over herself. HAAAAAAA!!!
- The bride and her bridemaids go to an exclusive wedding dress shop to get the best possible dresses. But they all have food poisoning, so one ends up throwing up in the toilet, another shits in the sink, a third throws up on the head of the one throwing up in the toilet, and the bride ends up doing a shit in the middle of a busy road.
That last scene was possibly the Nadir of comedy itself. Awful.
What made the whole thing so bad was that nobody in the cinema laughed. I was filled with a deep sense of embarrassment, not only for those of us in attendance, but for everyone involved in the film.
Then all of a sudden, the jokes seemed to stop, and it became more about how unsatisfied Annie was with her life, how she had failed at her previous attempt to run a business, and also her relationship with Nathan (the policeman).
And in fairness, that part of the film wasn’t as bad. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t good, but I still watched it.
Is This a ‘Chick Flick’ or Simply A Film For the Lowest Common Denominator?
I’ve never had a problem with romantic comedies. I know a lot of men do – almost to the extent where you question their emotional capacity to deal with anything that isn’t an Action Movie. I recall an incident years ago when a few of us went to see Mean Girls – a fun film about the tribalism that exists in the American school system – and we bumped into someone we knew who refused to go to the film because it was, in his eyes, a ‘Chick Flick’. Incredible.
Well I – like many straight blokes out there – have the capacity to enjoy Romantic Comedies. I like the genre that is ‘Reese Witherspoon’.
Having said that, there’s plenty of TV I avoid – Sex & The City for example. I haven’t seen much of it, so I can’t comment with authority, but it struck me as TV made by women and made for women.
A lot of the content of this film is designed for women. I don’t think men find humour about womens’ views on penises, womens’ personal grooming or wedding related humour to be that funny. It also came across as man hating. In that sense, this seemed more like a ‘Chick Flick’ than anything else I’ve seen in recent memory.
On the other hand, I’d be doing womenkind a disservice if I assume they would all find some of this dross funny. Shit/Fart/Sick jokes are not funny, nor are they witty. Its lowbrow stuff to the extreme.
And speaking of extreme, what I always hate in any TV show or film is when you get unrealistic characters that you wouldn’t find in real life. I like to credit myself with some intelligence, and generally mix with people who are intelligent also. So the stupidity of Annie’s Flatmate’s sister doesn’t seem real to me. People can’t be that stupid.
Similarly, there are two scenes in Annie’s work, where she has a job as a salesperson in a jewellery store. In the first scene she starts to argue with a couple who are in buying an engagement ring saying that their love will never last and that men are not to be trusted. In the second scene she argues with a girl who is in buying a necklace for her best friend, as she says best friends never last either and then starts laying in to the girl’s appearance, culminating in shouting ‘You’re a cunt’ at her.
Why would that ever happen? Surely she’d have the common sense to sell the items in a friendly manner so she can earn her living, even if she was thinking those things?
When characters stop acting in a believable way, then it just stops working for anyone with half a brain.
So on that note, I’d say that this is a ‘Chick Flick’, but it’s also one for the lowest common denomintor.
Overall, this film was really poor in my opinion. As you can tell, I didn’t find it funny. I won’t lie; I chuckled once at a joke about how the hen party should have a fight club theme, but that was it. In many ways, one chuckle is worse than none at all. It seems more pathetic.
The acting isn’t that bad, it’s just that they don’t have anything to work with. The only likeable character in the whole thing is Chris O’Dowd’s character of Nathan. Apart from him it just seems to be a film with terrible people doing terrible things, even though it’s not supposed to be.
Looking at other reviews, such as the 5 Star Review on Digital Spy, it seems like some women love the character of Annie, because she’s apparently something to be aspired to. Well sorry ladies, Annie comes across as an unlikeable cow. If that’s what you want to model yourself on then you’ve only got yourselves to blame when you’re in your late 30s, resenting your friends, eating entire buckets of ice cream in one sitting and having to have your hair pulled back while you throw up in a toilet. And hey, you’ll still be single. And if these films are to be believed, that’s the one thing you don’t want.
Should You Go And See Bridesmaids
Neil Martin…what were you thinking!