Saturday, May 14, 2011

'Bridesmaids': Don't Expect Much and You'll Like It Better

If you loved "Porky's" and "Sleepless in Seattle" equally, then you'll be delighted to know they've had a love child: "Bridesmaids." It's a gross-out, sophomoric chic flick about a low-brow wedding party and it has more graphic bathroom humor than a Monty Python epic.

It is drawing large crowds of people who are reacting alternately with embarrassed mortification at the level of the humor and a lot of "awwwwwww" moments because the characters are, frankly, likeable. It's an odd movie that combines our lesser instincts with the ultimate hope of so many women: a great wedding.

I nearly walked out about four times because of the graphic nature of the bathroom scenes and the rampant use of the word "fuck," which, frankly, should be used like the death penalty, very, very, very rarely. But the longer I sat, the more I laughed and the more I liked the characters.

This is a movie that will likely make Kristen Wiig of "Saturday Night Live" a star. But the ensemble is worthy, creating characters you can care about.

Basically, the story revolves around Wiig's character who has been named maid of honor for her life-long best friend's wedding. Both women are in their 30s, don't have much money and face some big, self-made obstacles. The primary hurdles for Wiig's character  are a lack of self-esteem and self-destructive tendencies that threaten everything in her life (and bring most of it to a halt). She is given the personal romantic choice between a rich jerk who uses her unapologetically and a truly nice guy who likes her and treats her with courtesy, respect and kindness. Guess who she picks? That's the chick flick part.

The "Porky's" component has to do with women crapping in a sink and in the street, vomiting on each other, farting in crowds, belching loudly in a fashionable wedding salon and talking almost endlessly about bodily functions (when not exercising them).

Director Paul Freig ("Freaks and Geeks") chooses the low road for storytelling here and, in the process, overwhelms the possibility of a sensitive, funny and important comedy with gutter humor. I'm not sure the popularity says so much abut Freig as it does about the large audiences whooping it up here. H.L. Mencken said, "Nobody ever went broke under-estimating the taste of the American public"? "Bridesmaids" is Exhibit No. 1.

I suspect you'll like this one if you go in with low expectations, an empty stomach and a high tolerance level for the lowest form of humor. If you can stand it, you'll probably like it.

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