I find it hilarious that this film was nominated for two Academy Awards… I mean it’s not a bad film, but it’s not their usual cup of tea. This comedy starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy star in this rowdy comedy. The film features a hit-miss screenplay that has a few more hits than misses and a strong cast that make this comedy watchable. The one thing that this film really managed to do however was show the general audience that women are equally capable of carrying this genre.
Kristen Wiig leads the ensemble cast as the flawed leading lady who is simply trying to find her way. Wiig is a great funny-actress, but in the more dramatic moments she seems to be awkward and lacks the dramatic acting chops that the role demands. But all of the comical moments are on-point and do not disappoint. This hit-or-miss sense of performance creates an unevenly paced portrayal that falls short of some of her supporting actresses. Starring as her best friend is Maya Rudolph who gives in a much better paced performance that manages to be successfully funny and dramatic at the same time. Rudolph and Wiig also have great oncreen chemistry and work together especially well in the much more comical scenes.
Rose Byrne stars as the snobbish friend of Rudolph who spurs a rivalry with Wiig. Byrne gives a decent performance that– sadly however– is littered with cheesy clichés. The clichés are not at all Byrne’s fault, but rather the screenplay’s and Byrne does her best to make the performance compelling, but doesn’t fully succeed. Melissa McCarthy however, is absolutely fantastic. Obviously she’s had a missteps in her career, but this film proves that she can be funny. And especially that she can be very funny in moderation. And in this role she gets to throw in one-liners.
Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper feature as two of the other bridesmaids and each offer up a couple of one-liners and witty comments. They each add to the ensemble cast without taking away from the leading actresses. Chris O’Dowd also features as a kind police officer who meets Wiig and forms a connection. O’Dowd adds well to the film and does well in his role and has great chemistry with Wiig onscreen. Rebel Wilson and Matt Lucas also co-star as Wiig’s roommates who are both very funny and work well together onscreen. So although the leading lady isn’t perfect, the ensemble around her helps carry the film.
The technical aspects of the film are alright, although not especially significant throughout the film. The screenplay however is quite interesting. This being one of the first female-driven gag-based comedy and it is one of the best gag-based comedies o all time. But the genre itself often come off as a cheap and lazy genre that constantly takes the easy way out of actual story-telling. This film also falters with some of these aspects, especially that of cheap and lazy gags that are more uncomfortable than funny. A few of the characters–Byrne’s character especially– are also fairly cliche and uninventive.
The story is decent and much like with many the genre it is used to carry the jokes rather than the other way around. The jokes too are mostly funny, especially those performed by Melissa McCarthy whose character (and performance) really brings home this film. This film however is not as much about making the best gag-based comedy of all time, but rather to show off the fact that women are equally qualified to carry them. But the film however manages to be one of the best in its genre which is also in part due to the fact that its the breathe of fresh air the genre needed.
This film is a must-watch even if it isn’t perfect. It is not a fantastic film, but it is a ground-breaking and interesting addition to the gag-based comedy genre that we’ve all learned to tolerate. Wiig’s performance is okay, but all of her co-stars are great (especially McCarthy) and lift her up when she falters.
Best Aspect- Melissa McCarthy
Worst Aspect- The occasionally lazy gags