Bridesmaids (2011 film)
Theatrical movie poster
|Directed by||Paul Feig|
|Produced by||Judd Apatow
|Written by||Annie Mumolo
|Music by||Michael Andrews|
|Edited by||William Kerr
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$288.4 million|
Bridesmaids is a 2011 American romantic comedy film directed by Paul Feig, written by Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig, and produced by Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, and Clayton Townsend. The plot centers on Annie (Wiig), who suffers a series of misfortunes after being asked to serve as maid of honor for her best friend, Lillian, played by Maya Rudolph. Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, and Wendi McLendon-Covey co-star as Lillian's bridesmaids, with Chris O'Dowd, Rebel Wilson, Matt Lucas, Michael Hitchcock, and Jill Clayburgh, in her final film appearance, playing key supporting roles.
Actresses Mumolo and Wiig crafted the screenplay after the latter's casting in producer Apatow's comedy film Knocked Up (2007). Budgeted at $32.5 million, filming took place in Los Angeles, California. Upon its opening release in the United States and Canada on May 13, 2011, Bridesmaids was both critically and commercially successful. The film grossed $26 million in its opening weekend, eventually grossing over $288 million worldwide, and surpassed Knocked Up to become the top-grossing Apatow production to date. It received a 90% overall approval rating according to Rotten Tomatoes and served as a touchstone for discussion about women in comedy.
The film was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and received multiple other accolades. On January 24, 2012, the film was nominated for both the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Melissa McCarthy and Best Original Screenplay. This made it the first Apatow-produced film to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Annie Walker (Kristen Wiig) is a single woman in her late 30s. Following the failure of her bakery, she lost her boyfriend and her savings, forcing her to take a job as a sales clerk in a jewelry store and to share an apartment with an obnoxious roommate Gil (Matt Lucas) and his sister Brynn (Rebel Wilson). Her business's failure was so painful that she has given up baking entirely. She has a no-strings-attached sexual relationship with the self-absorbed Ted (Jon Hamm) but hopes for something more from him. Her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), is virtually her only source of happiness.
Lillian becomes engaged and asks Annie to be her Maid of Honor. At the engagement party, Annie meets Lillian's bridesmaids: cynical cousin Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey); idealistic friend Becca (Ellie Kemper); groom's raunchy sister Megan (Melissa McCarthy); and Helen (Rose Byrne), the rich and beautiful wife of the groom's boss. Helen and Annie, who are jealous of each other's friendship with Lillian, take an instant dislike to each other; but Lillian persuades them to spend time together.
Annie takes Lillian and the bridesmaids to a Brazilian steak restaurant for lunch before going to a chic bridal shop. However, Helen must use her influence to gain entry to the shop because Annie didn't make a reservation. While trying on gowns, the whole party—with the exception of Helen—becomes sick from food poisoning. Later, Annie's suggestion of a bachelorette party at Lillian's parents' lake house is overruled in favor of a trip to Las Vegas planned by Helen. Worried about her finances and too proud to accept a ticket paid for by Helen, Annie books a ticket in coach although the rest of the party flies first class. However, the trip is cut short by an outburst from Annie, who had accepted a sedative from Helen because of her fear of flying. The plane makes an emergency landing in Casper, Wyoming; and the party takes a bus back home. Annie apologizes, but Lillian decides she wants Helen to take over planning the shower and the wedding.
Annie continues to hope for a relationship with Ted, but she begins flirting with Officer Nathan Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd), a friendly State Patrol Officer who had earlier let her off without a ticket for broken tail lights. Nathan encourages her to open a new bakery, but Annie refuses. Following a night together, Nathan buys baking supplies for Annie to make them breakfast. Offended and overwhelmed, Annie leaves. Annie is later fired for being rude to a customer and kicked out of her apartment by her roommates, forcing her to move in with her mother (Jill Clayburgh, in her final film appearance).
Annie travels to Helen's home in Chicago for the bridal shower, which has become a Parisian-themed event. Helen also upstages Annie's heartfelt, handmade shower gift by giving Lillian a trip to Paris, an idea Helen stole from Annie. Enraged that Helen has taken credit for the Parisian theme, Annie throws a tantrum. She is kicked out of the shower and the wedding. On her way home, Annie is involved in a car accident, but the other driver flees the scene. Nathan is the responding officer, and he admonishes her for not fixing her tail lights and taking responsibility for her life. He storms off when Ted arrives to give Annie a ride. When Ted asks Annie to perform oral sex on him, she breaks off the relationship and walks home.
Throughout the next several days, Annie becomes reclusive, refusing to leave her mother's house and obsessively watching television. After a pep talk from Megan, Annie realizes her errors and tries to make amends with Nathan, but he ignores her. On the day of the wedding, Helen appears at Annie's doorstep distraught; Lillian has disappeared, and Helen begs for Annie's help in finding her. Helen and Annie have a reconciliation of sorts, and Helen apologizes to Annie. The two enlist Nathan to help, and he grudgingly agrees. The group find Lillian at her own apartment, discovering that she ran from her wedding because of Helen's extravagant planning and from fear of leaving her life in Milwaukee. After reconciling, Annie helps Lillian prepare for her wedding.
Annie resumes her place as Maid of Honor. After the wedding, which Annie agrees with Helen is "perfect", Helen again apologizes to Annie and states her hope that they can be friends in the future. Realizing that Annie and Nathan were falling in love, Helen also arranged for him to pick up Annie after the wedding. Nathan and Annie reconcile and the pair ride away in his police car.
- Kristen Wiig as Annie Walker
- Maya Rudolph as Lillian Donovan
- Rose Byrne as Helen Harris III
- Chris O'Dowd as Officer Nathan Rhodes
- Melissa McCarthy as Megan Price
- Wendi McLendon-Covey as Rita
- Ellie Kemper as Becca
- Jill Clayburgh as Judy Walker
- Matt Lucas as Gil
- Rebel Wilson as Brynn
- Michael Hitchcock as Don
- Tim Heidecker as Dougie
- Terry Crews as Boot Camp Instructor
- Jon Hamm as Ted (uncredited)
The script, originally titled Maid of Honor, was written by actress and screenwriter Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig. Friends for years, they met at The Groundlings, a Los Angeles-based improvisational comedy troupe where they wrote sketches with one another, in the early 2000s. The basic premise for the film originated in 2006, shortly after Wiig was cast in the supporting role of a passive-aggressive cable television executive in producer Judd Apatow's comedy film Knocked Up (2007). Recognizing her comedic talent, Apatow asked Wiig if she had any ideas for a screenplay herself – a practice which had previously led to Steve Carell's idea for The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) – and she and Mumolo soon came up with Bridesmaids. Over the following years, writing commenced, with Wiig working on Saturday Night Live in New York City and Mumolo grinding out the script in Los Angeles. The two would meet on weekends and conduct semi-regular table reads of drafts for Apatow to get his suggestions and notes.
Casting and filming
Several actresses auditioned for the role of Megan, including Rebel Wilson and Busy Philipps, the latter of whom had worked with Apatow and Feig on the comedy-drama television series Freaks and Geeks. Wilson, who improvised for Apatow and Feig for an hour during, impressed them so much during her audition that she was later cast in the smaller role of Brynn. It marked her first appearance in an American production. Mindy Kaling read for the role of Lilian, eventually losing to Wiig's Saturday Night Live colleague Maya Rudolph. Rose Byrne initially also auditioned for Lilian, but later took the opportunity to read Helen. Byrne was eventually chosen as the nemesis because she wasn’t a comedian as Feig feared the character would be “coming out to be too arch if we had a funny woman doing it.” Greta Gerwig and Judy Greer also auditioned for unspecific roles.
Bridesmaids was budgeted at $32.5 million. Though primarily set in Milwaukee and Chicago, principal photography actually took place in Los Angeles, California. Production designer Jefferson Sage, who has worked with Apatow and Paul Feig since their Freaks and Geeks days, noted that the first fact that appealed to him about the project "was that you had these two disparate worlds: There was Annie's world in Milwaukee, and then there was Helen's world in Chicago. It immediately drew this dichotomy between the rivalry that developed between them." However, Sage acknowledged that it was a challenge to find "architecture that would give us those Midwestern worlds. Chicago is a beautiful, distinctive city architecturally, and restricted views of downtown L.A. feel like Chicago." The production decided to use the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden as the location for Lillian and Dougie's wedding. Additional scenes where Annie meets Officer Rhodes on the highways between Milwaukee and Chicago were filmed in Oxnard, California, which Sage described as a "broad, flat, green area away from mountains."
Bridesmaids received critical acclaim upon its release. The film review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reported 90% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 242 reviews, with an average score of 7.6/10. The critical consensus is: "A marriage of genuine characters, gross out gags, and pathos, Bridesmaids is a female-driven comedy that refuses to be boxed in as Kristen Wiig emerges as a real star." Metacritic rated the movie 76 based on 37 critics.
Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 stars of out 4, and opined that Bridesmaids "seems to be a more or less deliberate attempt to cross the Chick Flick with the Raunch Comedy. It definitely proves that women are the equal of men in vulgarity, sexual frankness, lust, vulnerability, overdrinking and insecurity. . . . Love him or not, Judd Apatow is consistently involved with movies that connect with audiences."
Critic Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly pointed out the significance of Bridesmaids success as follows: "So far, the message that Hollywood seems to have taken from the incredible success of Bridesmaids is a predictably reductive one, something along the lines of: Hey, look! Raunchy comedies for women with awesome grossout scenes in the middle of them can be big box office too!! The message that Hollywood should be taking is: A comedy that's raunchy and fearless, and also brilliantly written and shrewdly honest about what's really going on in women's lives, may actually connect with the fabled non-teenage audience (remember them?)."
Many critics, like Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon (who called Bridesmaids the "first black president of female-driven comedies" ) labeled the film as "a breakthrough for female-centered comedy, and feminist to boot." It was also credited with proving that "women could pull off a good fart joke as well as the next guy, and did what seemed like the impossible: leading an all-female cast to blockbuster success."
Despite the majority of praise, the film was not without its detractors. The reviewers of Spill.com gave it an aggregate "Some Ole Bullshit," saying that the main character played by Kristen Wiig was an "annoying, horrible person" who was "a victim of her own circumstance." However, they praised the performances of Melissa McCarthy and Chris O'Dowd.
Melissa McCarthy was nominated for the 2012 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.
Bridesmaids surpassed Knocked Up to become the top-grossing Judd Apatow production to date, grossing $26,247,410 on its opening weekend and settling for a strong second place behind Thor. Bridesmaids grossed $169,106,725 domestically and $119,276,798 in foreign markets, totalling $288,383,523. It was reported that males made up 33 percent of the movie's audience and that 63 percent of the audience was over the age of 30.
|Award||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result|
|Academy Awards||Best Original Screenplay||Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Supporting Role||Melissa McCarthy||Nominated|
|American Film Institute||Movies of the Year||Won|
|Art Directors Guild||Contemporary Film||Jefferson Sage (Production Design)||Nominated|
|BAFTA Awards||Best Original Screenplay||Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Supporting Role||Melissa McCarthy||Nominated|
|Black Reel Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Maya Rudolph||Nominated|
|BMI Film & TV Awards||Film Music Award||Michael Andrews||Won|
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Melissa McCarthy||Nominated|
|Best Acting Ensemble||Nominated|
|Detroit Film Critics Society||Breakthrough Performance||Melissa McCarthy||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Kristen Wiig||Nominated|
|Las Vegas Film Critics Society||Best Supporting Actress||Melissa McCarthy||Won|
|New York Film Critics Online||Best Ensemble Cast||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Melissa McCarthy||Won|
|MTV Movie Awards||Movie of the Year||Bridesmaids||Nominated|
|Best Female Performance||Kristen Wiig||Nominated|
|Best Comedic Performance||Kristen Wiig||Nominated|
|Best Comedic Performance||Melissa McCarthy||Won|
|Best Breakthrough Performance||Melissa McCarthy||Nominated|
|Best Gut-Wrenching Performance||Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper||Won|
|Best On-Screen Dirt Bag||Jon Hamm||Nominated|
|NewNowNext Awards||Next Must-See Movie||Won|
|Online Film Critics Society||Best Supporting Actress||Melissa McCarthy||Nominated|
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Comedy Movie||Won|
|Favorite Ensemble Movie Cast||Nominated|
|Producers Guild of America Award||Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures||Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Clayton Townsend||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Nominated|
|Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role||Melissa McCarthy||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie – Comedy||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Actress – Comedy||Kristen Wiig||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Actress – Comedy||Maya Rudolph||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Hissy Fit||Kristen Wiig||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Scene Stealer – Female||Melissa McCarthy||Nominated|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association||Best Acting Ensemble||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Melissa McCarthy||Nominated|
|Best Original Screenplay||Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig||Nominated|
Bridesmaids was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in theatrical (125 minutes) and unrated (131 minutes) versions on September 20, 2011. iTunes Extras include Line-O-Rama, Deleted Scenes, Extended & Alternate Scenes & Cholodecki's Commercial. Another edition commemorating the 100th anniversary of Universal Studios was released on September 4, 2012.
In January 2012, industry sources reported that Universal was interested in developing a sequel to Bridesmaids. When discussing the potential of a Bridesmaids 2, producer Judd Apatow was quoted as saying, "The key is we have to come up with an idea that is as good or better than the first one." In an interview with Vanity Fair, director Paul Feig addressed rumors of a sequel, saying "Everyone's very busy right now is one of the problems, and kind of doing their own thing, but we're very open to it." However, when questioned about her potential involvement, Kristen Wiig told The Hollywood Reporter, "We aren't working on that. Annie [Mumolo] and I aren't planning a sequel. We are writing something else." Following Wiig's statement, reports surfaced that Universal was interested in proceeding without her, instead focusing on developing a story about Melissa McCarthy's character. McCarthy dispelled the rumors that she would consider returning for a sequel without Wiig, telling E! Online, "God, I wouldn't want to. I would never want to. I think it's a terrible idea. I don't know anything about it. But I know that nobody wants to do it unless it's great. If it is, I will show up wherever those ladies are."
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