In the film As Good As It Gets Jack Nicholson plays a misanthropic author, who, when asked how he writes ‘women so well’ replies, “I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability’.
When recounting this to a friend who writes for TV and is noted for his female characters, he said that when he ‘wrote women’ he “thinks of a man and adds emotional depth”.
Bridesmaids is the debut film of Saturday Night Live actor/writer Kristen Wiig and her screenwriting partner, actor Annie Mumolo, who takes a cameo role in the film.
Produced by Judd Apatow and packaged in pink, it is marketed as the female Hangover.
We follow thirty-something Annie as she negotiates the minefield of rituals in the run-up to childhood best-friend, Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding.
We meet Annie when she’s down on her uppers, her bakery has fallen victim to the recession and her relationship soon followed.
She’s working in a low-end jewellery shop and enduring a friends-with-benefits relationship with a cad (an uncredited Jon Hamm).
She is sharing a flat with a grotesque brother (Little Britain’s Matt Lucas) and sister.
Although these two hit the only off note in a film cast with gloriously three-dimensional character, they do sum up her predicament neatly when responding to remonstrations about reading Annie’s diary saying,
“I did not know it was your diary, I thought it was a very sad handwritten book.”
This is the beginning of the film. It gets worse.
It gets so much worse, as Annie says to her Mother “You remember when you thought I hit bottom? That wasn’t bottom.”
The travelling metaphor is well worn yet Bridesmaids makes it germane.
Annie’s life journey has gone off course. She is driving a beaten up car whose taillights are out.
She sees her best friend as leaving her behind to join a life so beyond her reach as mirrored in the plane journey to Vegas where she is left in economy as the rest of the party fly first class.
Essentially the film explores the complexities of female friendship, the double meaning of the word ‘cleave’ and of a woman who is using all of her energy just to hold on for one more day.
But it is funny. It is so very funny. Its script, four years in development, is deftly written, layered with humour that can only be really appreciated over a few viewings making it an ideal DVD choice.
The physical comedy delights and the gross out humour, notably the dress-fitting scene is classic Apatow.
But it is sad, it is so very sad. It’s sometimes too much to bear as we watch Annie come close to losing her mind on top of losing everything else.
Bridesmaids provides a fresh and compelling take on the female based film, it is easy to give it lazy labels, romgrosscomchickoutflick may suffice, essentially it is a beautifully written superbly acted film, that will make you laugh and really should make you cry.
Bridesmaids is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 14th November 2011