Unpopular Opinion: Bridesmaids
Written by:Bobby Lepire
[Ed. note: THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!]
BRIDESMAIDS was a massive success. I saw it in theaters, and was let down. Most of the jokes are too damn long, the main relationship rings false, and female bonding is conspicuously absent.
The jokes are poorly edited and dont flow well. The opening with Annie at Teds is three minutes of awkward flailing. I laughed for the first minute, then I got tried of it. The infamous microphone fight lasts four minutes. Overkill! The ending of that sequence is awful, with Annie and Helen trying to out-sing each other.
None of these can compete with the worst scene: Annies three freakouts on the plane. The first one is amusing, and lasts two minutes. Then there is a jump cut, I believe to show the passing of time, but I am confused by it. Annie comes back to first class, in a scene that mirrors the previous one. It lasts a minute and a half. The third is different from the first two. However, by that point, I was over the whole thing. Altogether, the freakouts last five minutes.
I respectfully disagree with the sentiment that BRIDESMAIDS represents female empowerment. Roughly 97% of Annies characterization doesnt come from her interactions with women. They come from her interaction with Rhodes and Ted. After every crisis, Annie is with a man in the following scene. She gets kicked out of the wedding, she goes to a bar with Rhodes. She gets food poisoning, shes in bed with Ted. Annie never calls up any females for comfort after each snafu. For a movie being trumpeted as relatable for featuring real women, it lacks female interaction that doesnt involve the wedding.
The food poisoning brings up a technical issue. After they all crap themselves, we see Annie drive Lillian home. The next scene is Annie at Teds. WTF? Is this the same day? A few days later? Having had food poisoning earlier this year, Im 100% certain, if its the same day, shed feel lousy, and not up for the jostling. If its meant to be a day or two later, then the movie does a crap job of showing that.
After being pulled over, Annie is in her apartment looking at framed items from her bakery. We then see a minute and a half long sequence of Annie baking a cupcake. Heres the bloody problem: When shes looking at her framed items, she has already changed out of what she wore to the engagement party. In the baking scene, shes wearing something different. Is this a flashback? If so, establish it as such. If not, then why did she change into nicer clothes to bake? Aside from being confusing, this scene destroys the impact of her baking later on. The reason shes hostile to Rhodes after they hook-up is because he wants her to bake. Were told shes not really baking anymore. Why then does she make that single cupcake? Isnt she not baking?
Helens entire schtick is to tear down and steal every idea Annie has. How does she justify this? Her husband travels. Thats the entire explanation. Im more okay with her being a bitch because some people just are. My husband is never home, poor me, is a cop out, and reinforces the stereotype that all women intrinsically need a man. More importantly, while Annie gets her much deserved apology, guess who Helen never comes clean to. The person she desperately needed to apologize to for demolishing her relationship with her best friend: The bride! At the end of this movie, Lillian has no idea what the pills were, or that Helen constantly tried to steal Annies thunder at every turn. Due to this lack of sincere remorse, Helen and Annies reconciliation after the wedding is unfathomable.
This leads to the movies biggest problem: Lillian is the worst friend ever! During the engagement party it seemed Lillian never told Annie about any of the bridesmaids. They are best friends, so did Lillian never bring up Helen, whom she now plays tennis with and regularly accompanies for sushi? Or that they, and their respective SOs, went on a trip to Florida? Does Lillian tell Annie anything?
We have arrived at the worst scene again!
During takeoff, Annies nervous, and goes to first class to talk to Lillian. In the window seat next to her is Helen, who gives Annie pills. Lillian encourages this, saying Itll be okay. Time passes, and Helen, not Lillian, goes back to economy to check on Annie. Annie is still nervous, and the pills arent working. Helen coerces an idiotic Annie to drink alcohol to help. Then bam! The three freakouts happen.
During the first, Lillian asks Helen, Holy shit! What did you give her? Helens response is a whatever do you mean? face, as if shes insulted that her pills could be the culprit. So the content of the pills is never addressed. Given what we know about Helen, it is fair and logical to presume Helen was specifically trying to fuck with Annie. Lillian blames getting kicked off the plane entirely on Annie and excludes her from the wedding. The fact that Lillian has the audacity to blame Annie, despite evidence that its not entirely Annies fault, makes Lillian a bitch. That the movie drops this subplot makes it stupid.
There are funny moments, and most of the actresses do their best, but the awkward editing, awful characterizations, and inexplicable time lapses hurt those moments. Then the one thing that the movie supposedly has going for it, relatable real women that genuinely care for each other, is a fallacy. Based upon what we are shown, despite the two leads compelling chemistry, the writing fails to show authentic friendship. There is very little here to convince me that Lillian cares for Annie, and given that their relationship is what the film hinges on, the movie flounders.
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