Thirty-something Annie (Kristen Wiig) has hit a rough patch but finds her life turned completely upside-down when she takes on the Maid of Honor role in her best friend Lillian's (Maya Rudolph) wedding. In way over her head but determined to succeed, Annie leads a hilarious hodgepodge of bridesmaids (Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper) on a wild ride down the road to the big event.
The delightful Kristen Wiig, who's shone in dozens of supporting roles and on Saturday Night Live, hits a bull's-eye with her first lead role in Bridesmaids. Annie (Wiig) isn't doing so well; her bakery failed and she keeps sleeping with a good-looking louse (Jon Hamm, Mad Men), but she's always had her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph, Away We Go) to buoy her up… until Lillian gets engaged. Annie becomes maid of honor, but another friend of Lillian's--the rich and lovely Helen (Rose Byrne, Get Him to the Greek)--wants to take over that position. Misadventures with bad Brazilian food, dress fittings, an unfortunate flight to Vegas, and a sympathetic traffic cop (Chris O'Dowd from British TV comedy The IT Crowd) follow, with increasingly hilarious results. Bridesmaids successfully balances raunchy comedy and character portrait. The embarrassing and socially catastrophic stuff, which in too many movies balloons into absurdity, is here kept in check just enough to allow Annie and the other characters to be multidimensional people--without the movie losing its comic capacity for cringe. (Actress Melissa McCarthy, of Mike & Molly, works miracles with a character than in most hands would be pure cartoon.) Wiig's enormous appeal keeps Annie sympathetic, even as she becomes more and more of a train wreck. Bridesmaids is both smart and dumb, raunchy and earnest, and altogether enjoyable. --Bret Fetzer