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Charmingly Raunchy 

Kristen Wiig pulls off a comic miracle in her delightful 'Bridesmaids'

Kristen Wiig delivers the best performance of the year so far by an actress in the raucously hilarious Bridesmaids.

Wiig, who co-wrote the screenplay with Annie Mumolo, has flirted with movie greatness before, but Bridesmaids is her first chance to headline, and she kills it.

We are introduced to Wiig's character, Annie, in an awkward sex scene shared with Jon Hamm, playing her awful, insensitive screw buddy. The moment gives Wiig a nice opportunity to get the laughter rolling with some prize-winning sex faces.

When Annie gets picked by her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), to be the maid of honor at her wedding, it comes at a really bad time: Annie has just lost all of her money on a failed bakery; her love life is in shambles; and her roommates are creepy British people.

She gives the gig her best shot, only to be consistently upstaged by prissy Helen (Rose Byrne), Lillian's rich new friend who is vying for the top bridal-party job. Other members of the party include sweet and innocent Becca (Ellie Kemper), slutty-housewife and angry-mom Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and the slightly frightening but somehow likable Megan (Melissa McCarthy).

McCarthy, who turned in an excellent performance in The Nines, puts on a completely different face for this movie, and it leads to epic comic greatness. There isn't a moment when McCarthy is speaking that isn't funny. Whether she's using a sink as a toilet, biting Annie's ass during a wrestling match or stealing puppies, McCarthy's Megan will stand as one of the year's greater comic highlights.

Wiig and director Paul Feig find a nice balance between effective, sweet drama and all-out raunchiness; there are a few scenes here that earn instant recognition in the Gross-Out Hall of Fame.

Wiig has taken a lot of shit lately for her work on Saturday Night Live. Actually, she's the one of the cast members working the hardest, throwing a bunch of comedic stuff at the refrigerator to see what will stick. Sure, she has produced some clunkers, but she's also produced a healthy amount of humorous successes. (I love the big-forehead girl on The Lawrence Welk Show and, yes, the Target Lady.)

In Bridesmaids, she delivers the kind of comic performance Steve Martin used to deliver at the height of his career. She puts forth fiercely funny stuff with heart and a brain—and she's willing to get super-dirty if the moment calls for it.

Annie flirts with a goofy Irish cop (Chris O'Dowd), and the two have great chemistry; the moments they spend together onscreen are sometimes so charming that it hurts. O'Dowd is effortlessly funny and able to break your heart at a moment's notice.

The film has many golden comic sequences, but the best involves Annie's difficulty on an airplane after mixing some sort of tranquilizer with scotch. Other highlights include a food-poisoning sequence that involves Maya Rudolph taking a dump in the street. If anybody could make such a predicament look graceful and almost classy, that would be Maya Rudolph.

This film marks the last appearance of the great Jill Clayburgh, who died of cancer last year. She plays Annie's mom, and gets plenty of laughs. It's nice to see this great actress go out on a high note.

The movie is produced by Judd Apatow, who has been rolling gutterballs since 2008, when he produced Pineapple Express and Step Brothers. (I liked Funny People, but it was a box-office disappointment.) This one should jolt some life back into the Apatow comedy factory, and let's hope so: His future slate includes a Pee Wee Herman movie!

If you don't mind raunch with your laughs, get thee to Bridesmaids. Wiig's performance is some sort of comic miracle, and the movie she has written around it has got a big heart.

Bridesmaids
Rated R · 125 minutes · 2011
Official Site: www.bridesmaidsmovie.com
Director: Paul Feig
Producer: Judd Apatow, Clayton Townsend, Barry Mendel and Paul Feig
Cast: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd, Matt Lucas, Jill Clayburgh, Rebel Wilson and Michael Hitchcock

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What others are saying (13)

Portland Mercury My 14 Favorite Movies of 2011 Why my favorites? Because I work at a newspaper and you don't! by Erik Henriksen 12/29/2011
Boise Weekly The Projector: Movies opening Friday, May 13 Women imprisoned in Afghanistan and one local woman who is fighting to help them; Kristen Wiig shows that women (and weddings) are funny; and a Boise family's two-wheeled travel tales. 05/13/2011
Creative Loafing Tampa The Green Lantern arrives Plus: The Art of Getting By and more what's playing at a theater near you. by Joe Bardi 06/16/2011
10 more reviews...
Charleston City Paper 2011 was the year of a different heroine The cinema of 2011 offered a long overdue news flash. While our brains have been programmed from years of Kate Hudson and Katherine Heigl vehicles to think that all women wanted was a husband and a hot pair of Manolo Blahniks, this year's movies germinated the notion that things aren't quite that simple. Or simple-minded. by Felicia Feaster 12/28/2011
Charleston City Paper Bridesmaids is a perfectly nutty look at the estromance Bridesmaids is pure girl power: rude, silly, poignant, and pants-wettingly funny. by Felicia Feaster 05/11/2011
Creative Loafing Atlanta Hollywood Product: Bridesmaids Kristen Wiig is the master of disaster by Debbie Michaud 05/13/2011
Memphis Flyer Girl Talk Bridesmaids walks the raunch tightrope, launches writer-star Kristin Wiig. by Chris Herrington 05/19/2011
Portland Mercury Wedding Party Kristen Wiig just might've made the year's best buddy comedy with Bridesmaids. by Alison Hallett 05/12/2011
Indy Week Kristen Wiig gets Apatow-ed in Bridesmaids If nothing else, Bridesmaids rebuts the criticism that Judd Apatow's films are nothing but wish-fulfillment scenarios for schlubby guys; in this one, whininess and low self-esteem are definitely gender-neutral. by Zack Smith 05/11/2011
NUVO Ed reviews "Bridesmaids" The newest film from Team Apatow is, true to form, crass, funny, sweet and longer than it needs to be. by Ed Johnson-Ott 05/13/2011
Colorado Springs Independent Opening this week Bridesmaids, Everything Must Go, Priest 05/12/2011
Colorado Springs Independent Nasty girls: Bridesmaids We're squarely inside an era where cinematic comedy is often built on R-rated can-you-top-this gross-outs. Can America handle distaff disgust? by Scott Renshaw 05/12/2011
Chicago Reader Funny Girls With Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig and company crash the boys' club of big-screen comedy by J.R. Jones 05/12/2011

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