2011 is likely going to go down in history as the year of the R-rated comedy. This summer alone has seen at least five different "raunchy," adult-targeted comedies, most of which were massively successful and grossed over $100 million each. Now that the dust has settled, it's clear that the Kristen Wiig vehicle Bridesmaids -- which, incidentally, was the first big comedy of the summer -- is also the best.
For those who haven't already seen the movie (and there have to be some of you out there), a brief refresher: Saturday Night Live breakout star Wiig stars as Annie, a failed bakery owner and mess of an adult, whose best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph, another SNL alum) has just gotten engaged. As soon as Annie agrees to be the maid of honor, her life begins to fall apart even further -- largely thanks to the presence of Lillian's friend Helen (Rose Byrne), a wealthy trophy wife who quickly begins squeezing Annie out of the planning and usurping her place as best friend. Rounding out the bridal part are Rita (Reno 911!'s Wendi McLendon-Covey), a jaded housewife and miserable mother of three, relentlessly sweet newlywed Becca (Ellie Kemper) and Lillian's future sister-in-law Megan (Melissa McCarthy). While Annie's life is imploding, she happens to meet a very sweet Irish cop (Chris O'Dowd) who takes more than a passing interest in her.
What makes Bridesmaids so special -- besides the fact that it's a mainstream Hollywood comedy written by two women (Wiig and partner Annie Mumolo) and starring a largely female cast -- is that it's humor comes mostly from its characters. Unlike a lot of gag-driven comedies, Bridesmaids gets its mileage from its terrific ensemble and its collection of well-written, three-dimensional characters. These are women who have lives and histories outside of the needs of the plot (which is unheard of for almost any Hollywood movie, let alone a comedy), and the laughs come out of their personalities and interactions. There are broad gags and gross-out jokes, to be sure (most of which came at the insistence of Judd Apatow, who serves as producer and who reportedly wanted to make the comedy more accessible to men, who could never laugh at interesting and likable women who say funny things unless they were pooing at the time), but that's much of the weakest stuff in the movie. The movie is at its best when it concerns itself with who these women are, not what they might have had for lunch.
Terrific on Blu-ray
Like so many of the films from the camp of newly-crowned comedy king Judd Apatow Bridesmaids is even better on Blu-ray. There are two cuts of the movie offered: both the theatrical cut, and an extended "unrated" cut that runs about six minutes longer and adds in a few more jokes and character bits without overdoing the raunch. Because Bridesmaids felt a little long to begin with, the unrated cut may put off some fans (the pacing in the theatrical cut is tighter, as is to be expected), but I'm glad that both cuts have been included. If nothing else, the longer version is worth at least a look.
Where the Blu-ray really excels, though, is in the special features department -- there is an embarrassment of riches of bonus material included. Director Paul Feig, writer Mumolo and most of the cast (minus Rose Byrne) sit down to record a very chatty, funny commentary track; because so many people are involved, it can be a little overly busy at times, but it's a lot of fun. There are also hours worth of deleted, extended and alternate scenes, all of which contain several big laughs that are different from what was offered in the movie. There are alternate lines and jokes, outtakes, a terrific blooper reel and much, much more. If you're a fan of Bridesmaids, the Blu-ray is likely to keep you busy for hours just digging through all of the jokes. The best comedy of the year is getting one of the best home video releases of the year. What's not to like about that?
- Release Date: 9/20/11
- Running Time: 125 minutes (rated)/131 minutes (unrated)
- 2.40:1 Widescreen
- 5.1 DTS-HD (English)/DVS Dolby Digital 2.0 (English)
- 5.1 DTS Surround (French)/5.1 DTS Surround (Spanish)
- English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles
- Rated R/Unrated
Blu-ray Bonus Features
- Feature commentary with Paul Feig, Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo, Maya Rudolph, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy and Wendi McLendon-Covey
- Deleted Scenes
- Extended and Alternate Scenes
- "Made of Honor: The Making of Bridesmaids
- Gag Reel
- "Pep Talk"
- "Annie vs. Helen"
- "Hold On" video
- Cholodecki's Commercial
- Standard DVD Copy
- Digital Copy