Bridesmaids comes daringly close to breaking Dumb & Dumber’s unofficial record for toilet humor greatness. Regardless of what people say about it, there’s a line between when toilet humor humor works and exists for a reaction. Maya Rudolph in the middle of the street wearing a wedding dress worth thousands while slowly succumbing to the effects of ravaged Brazilian food? Comedy gold.
Oddly enough, it’s one of the few scenes in Bridesmaids that knows when to quit. Granted, it’s hard to see where else to go past someone vomiting on a vomiters (?) head, but it gets out while the getting is still good. Everything else? Not so much.
Bridesmaids has a length disease, one of those film diagnosis that dooms it from the start. You know, where the director and editor can’t part with any of what was shot so it has to be in the movie? Zoning in, the intrepid ‘maids head off to Vegas to celebrate Lilian’s (Maya Rudolph) engagement, Annie (Kristen Wiig) terrified of flying. Tripping on a combo of prescription drugs and booze, Annie flips out, drawing ire of staff, a US Marshall, and her own friends… for 10 minutes.
There’s simply not enough comedic stamina to save this one no matter the cast, all veterans of the screen in some form. Bridesmaids slogs its way to the two hour mark, six minutes longer in the unrated cut, and overplays itself each step of the way.
Beyond the comedy though, Bridesmaids is stuck with this insufferable narrative based around jealousy, delicious pink lemonade, and cracked friendships. Too much of it is a downer, scattered comedy dealing with side characters like Annie’s trashy British roommates more out of place when it should be comic gold. There’s so much in-fighting it’s a wonder that the wedding ever happens, and after sporking a candied Eiffel Tower at the bridal shower, it’s baffling how relationships are mended.
Paul Feig’s flick still manages to send the audience away happy, the epic tunage of Wilson Phillip’s “Hold On” appropriate musical accompaniment, just enough to salvage the typical Hollywood ending. It even makes you forget that half of the movie was constructed out of deleted scenes, or at least scenes that should have been deleted.
Universal counters the general monotony of the film with a glistening AVC encode, battling a limited grain structure into submission. The film-based source material rarely even comes across as apparent. That’s not insinuating there’s something wrong here, the digital intermediate phase likely toning down the film grain without too much harm to the fine detail.
This is a consistently crystalline presentation, focus never losing its grip on the material. It’s rare that one can say that in an era where soft focus tends to be so prominent. Oddly though, detail doesn’t always pop, facial detail somewhat restrained with the exception of Kristen Wiig who, for whatever reason, always seems to be under the gun of lights. Other fine points are present, from well resolved hair to the various dresses and precision stitching.
As with most modern comedies, Bridesmaids is drenched in saturation, flesh tones overcooked, and primaries scattered about gloriously. Eye candy in terms of the palette is not hard to come by. Exteriors bring forth a hearty contrast and rich greens, the eventual bridesmaid dresses are a distinct purple, and various cityscapes still put out some heavy grays. Just to complete the cycle, a few shots will even vomit up some orange and teal, just to remind viewers it’s “modern.”
Black levels are sort of a secondary downer just behind the sometimes glaring lack of detail, wiping out under pressure. Scenes in cars at night flounder, and a handful of bedroom shenanigans drop the ball in terms of depth and still manage to initiate some crush. More proof you just can’t have everything all the time.
A deadened DTS-HD track will only come into play a handful of times, the classy bridal shower bringing with it enough clinking glasses to make you hate the sound. Other parties capture the general chatter and musical ambiance without too much work involved in the process. And hey, if you want total clarity for your fake vomiting, you’ve come to the right place.
Bridesmaids will dominate the center with its dialogue, a shame as it has some opportunities to shine. A run-on gag where Annie passes by a cop car to get her on again/off again boyfriends attention doesn’t travel into the stereos at all. It’s all up to Wilson Phillips in the end, a firm echo and brilliant fidelity (along with some beefy fireworks) just enough to push some power in the closing moments.
Here’s the thing. Most of the extras here are deleted/extended/alternate scenes, almost all of it. There’s a section for that stuff too, a two-part line-o-rama, 10-minute gag reel, nearly an hour of deleted/extended scenes, and a drunk-o-rama. That one adds more takes to the airplane fiasco. So, we’re done at that point, right?
Ha! Now you’ll get more scenes with the roomates, cut sequences from the jewelry shop, more Annie/Helen berating, and pep talk deletions. It’s easy to appreciate all of this (there are some real gems scattered about), but why are they not contained like they should be? Each gets their own separate section, lengthening the extras menu for no specific reason.
Anyway, you can indulge in a commentary featuring director Paul Feig, co-writer Annie Mumolo, and cast members Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Wendie McLedon-Covey, & Ellie Kemper. Made of Honor is a roughly half-hour making-of, followed by the Wilson Phillips performance in its entirety. BD-Live access is left if you wish to journey into the world of familiar promo drivel.