Monday, 16 May 2011


Story time.

Thinking about popular films I should see before doing the film year in review at the Wild Goose Festival, I decided I needed to go to Bridesmaids, whether or not I had any interest in watching it. One newspaper described it as a women’s version of The Hangover. You all know how much I hated The Hangover (easily the worst critically-acclaimed film I have seen in the last decade), so this enthusiastic endorsement only served to severely lower my expectations for Bridesmaids (never a bad thing). That Bridesmaids was likewise getting critical acclaim made absolutely no positive impression on me this time, especially when the one brief line I read from Roger Ebert called it a cross between a Chick Flick and a Raunch Comedy. Oh joy!

Not having a wife around to cajole into joining me and unable to persuade my daughter to do so, I dared to enter a theatre full of women on my own. It being opening week of a popular film, there were about 200 people in the cinema; roughly ten of them were male: nine young men on dates and me. I have no idea what this crowd made of my presence and do not wish to think about it.

Bridesmaids started exactly where I expected it would, full of incredibly silly scenes which elicited endless laughter from the women surrounding me (I didn’t hear any male laughter, but maybe that wouldn’t have been possible) while barely drawing even a smile from me. The scenes were strung together in a haphazard way with no sense of one following the other and it felt like a bunch of long skits, few of which worked for me. One of these scenes, however, took place inside (and just outside) a bridal shop and I admit this scene was so …. (no word in the English language, that I know of, fits here) that, while I did not join in the uproarious laughter around me, I felt something - perhaps amazement at the daringness of what I was seeing, perhaps disgust, perhaps actually feeling wowed in some way.

At this point, I should mention that Bridesmaids, directed by Paul Feig, is about the adventures of a group of bridesmaids (duh!) and particularly about the maid of honour (played rather well, if occasionally way over the top, by Kristen Wiig), whose lifelong best friend is getting married while she is despairing of ever meeting the right man. When another of the bridesmaids turns out to be a competitor for the bride’s best friend status, the war is on.

About halfway through this rather long comedy, I was thinking that a comparison to The Hangover was fully warranted and that I had just thrown $10 away. But then all of a sudden Bridesmaids got serious, taking me completely by surprise. Not all of the serious stuff worked for me either but some did (especially the attempts at humanization), including a number of scenes involving a cop played by Chris O’Dowd, who was perfectly cast, and I found myself actually interested in the film for a while. The ending didn’t do anything for me, but I never expected it to.

When I left the cinema, I wondered whether one really had to be a woman to fully appreciate Bridesmaids (not that being a man helped me appreciate The Hangover). Many women were still laughing in the lobby as I walked out. Clearly they thought they had been watching an hilarious comedy. Even with the laughter all around me (how different this experience wold have been if I had been alone), I don’t believe I actually laughed more than two or three times. And yet, there was something about Bridesmaids (unlike The Hangover) which made me think I could be talked into watching it again. And on the way home, I drove over the Disraeli Bridge at precisely the moment when the giant almost-full orange moon rose over the Red River, which somehow vindicated my evening out. So I am forced to give Bridesmaids ***. My mug is up.

1 comment:

  1. you are not alone buddy....
    |i am a woman that went to see it, and frankly i paid to much at the cheap not worth the dime or my time....that was a thumbs down for me, and the women i saw it with....
    (by the way i just had to check out your blog when i got home to see what this was all about....:)