Directed by Paul Feig (“Freaks & Geeks“), starring underrated “Saturday Night Live” MVP and perpetual film scene stealer Kristen Wiig, and produced by Judd Apatow, “Bridesmaids” rolls into theaters this weekend and obviously boasts a trifecta of excellent pedigree behind it. Our love for the film is unabashed and collective; every Playlist member who has seen the film has been head over heels for it, a rare confluence of consensus for our opinionated group (read our review here, the film also made our list of 7 Best Films we saw at SXSW 2010).
It’s a rare film. A genuinely laugh-out-loud female-driven comedy (that’s R-Rated and fairly filthy mind-you) that doesn’t pander, nor is patronizing to its female audience. “Sex And The City,” Bride Wars” or “Made Of Honor” this is not. It’s also a film that shouldn’t alienate male audiences who generally run screaming in the opposite direction of female comedies when it comes to box-office opening day. The film is also atypical in the sense that it doesn’t cast huge names around the still-burgeoning Wiig. Aside from Kristen Wiig, and relatively known actors (but not huge stars) like Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph and Rose Byrne, the film takes a major chance on lesser known comediennes. Unknown may they be, they are a bevy of talented and utterly hilarious female comics like Ellie Kemper (Erin on “The Office”), Melissa McCarthy (“Gilmore Girls“) and Wendy McLendon-Covey (“Reno:911“). Chris O’Dowd (“The I.T. Crowd“), Matt Lucas (“Little Britain“), Rebel Wilson and Franklyn Ajaye (the hilarious ’70s comedian from “Car Wash“) help round out the funny.
We caught up with Wiig during the rounds for “Paul,” the Greg Mottola-directed sci-fi comedy she co-starred in and again recently during the L.A. press rounds for this wedding-themed/female-friends comedy.
When we spoke to her in March the actress was worried, but excited, preoccupied with the film being her first starring vehicle. The weight of the picture on her shoulders was definitely felt. “Oh my gosh… Well, I’m a little nervous because it’s my first starring project and I co-wrote it with my friend Annie Mumolo. I mean it’s really exciting, but it’s also a big deal for have it come to fruition after all this time cause we wrote it almost five years ago. I’m freaking out in a good way,” she exclaimed to us in a bundle of nervous energy.
In the works for half a decade, Wiig said she felt blessed that so many talented comedians not only joined the cast, but shepherded the project along like a labor of love. “I’m so lucky, Judd asked me to write this and to get Paul Feig to direct it and the cast — I couldn’t be happier. It’s got a lot of funny ladies and that’s something we set out to do in the beginning, we really wanted to write something that had a lot of women in it,” she said.
So was the idea to subvert the boys club comedy mien that Apatow and his crew have been accused of being in the past? Not exactly. “You write what you know,” she said. “And a lot of Judd’s movies have either had a lot of guys in them or were based on a guy’s point of view, but ‘Knocked Up‘ was about both those two [male and female] characters and that movie had so much heart, and I’m hoping that people see that side of it in our movie too.”
Don’t worry, as we mentioned there are some men in the picture and they get their due too (and Chris O’Dowd might just find himself the new breakout lead for romantic comedies). “Well, there’s not a lot of boys in it, but there definitely are some and the guys that are in it unbelievable — Jon Hamm, Chris O’Dowd, Mike Hitchcock, Matt Lucas,” Wiig said listing off the funny dudes who also get their chance to shine in the film.
Wiig also credits those actors who helped guide and nurture the picture, urging them to improvise and go beyond what they ideally wanted and find those moments of truth in the story. “The reason why the the movie worked because [Judd Apatow] pushed us to find things in the movie and in the script that maybe we were afraid to go to those places,” Wiig admitted. “And they were really good about, ‘Hey, let’s just try it, if it works it works and if it doesn’t it doesn’t,’ and I think some of the great moments in the movie are because of that.”
Featuring an ensemble of intelligent and funny women leads, surprisingly raunchy and hilarious, very heartfelt and also tackling some serious issues of class and loneliness without being overly heavy-handed about it, “Bridesmaids” juggles a lot in its lengthy, but not exorbitant, Apatow-like running time. It’s definitely much more than meets the eye and in case it isn’t already apparent, we encourage you check out the film when it hits theaters this weekend on May 13th. — Additional reporting by Christopher Bell & Leah Zak