Bridesmaids (2011 film)
|Directed by||Paul Feig|
|Music by||Michael Andrews|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$288.4 million|
Bridesmaids is a 2011 American 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, Jon Hamm, Franklyn Ajaye, and Jill Clayburgh, in her final film appearance, in supporting roles.
Actresses Mumolo and Wiig wrote the screenplay after the latter was cast in Apatow's 2007 comedy film Knocked Up, and budgeted at $32.5 million. Upon its opening release in the United States and Canada on May 13, 2011, Bridesmaids was a critical and commercial success. The film made $26 million in its opening weekend, eventually earning over $288 million worldwide, and surpassed Knocked Up to become the top-grossing Apatow production to date, and served as a touchstone for discussion about women in comedy.
Bridesmaids was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. It received multiple other accolades. In 2012, the film was nominated for both the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Melissa McCarthy and Best Original Screenplay for Wiig and Mumolo. This made Bridesmaids the first Apatow-produced film to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Annie Walker (Kristen Wiig) is a single woman in her mid-thirties, living in Milwaukee. After her bakery failed due to the recession, her boyfriend left her and she lost her savings. Having lost her passion for baking, Anne works at a jewelry store and shares an apartment with obnoxious English immigrant siblings Gil (Matt Lucas) and Brynn (Rebel Wilson). Annie has a casual sexual relationship with the rude and self-absorbed Ted (Jon Hamm), but hopes for something more from him. The only positive presence in her life is her lifelong best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph). When Lillian becomes engaged to her boyfriend Doug (Tim Heidecker), she asks Annie to be her maid of honor.
At the engagement party, Annie meets Lillian's bridesmaids: Lillian's long-married and cynical cousin Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey); Lillian's naïve newlywed coworker Becca (Ellie Kemper); Doug's blunt, foul-mouthed but friendly sister Megan (Melissa McCarthy); and finally, the wealthy and beautiful Helen (Rose Byrne), Doug's boss' trophy wife. Annie and Helen are instantly jealous of each other's friendship with Lillian, who persuades them to spend time together, but the two aren't able to get past their jealousy and only become more competitive with each other.
Annie takes Lillian and the bridesmaids to a Brazilian steak restaurant before visiting a chic bridal shop, where Helen uses her influence to gain entry as Annie failed to make a reservation. While trying on gowns, the entire party – except Helen, who chose not to eat – begins vomiting and having diarrhea from food poisoning, with Lillian defecating in the middle of the street while wearing a wedding dress.
Annie's suggestion for a bachelorette party at Lillian’s parents’ lakehouse is overruled in favor of a Las Vegas trip planned by Helen. Unable to afford a first-class ticket and too proud to accept a ticket from Helen, Annie books a ticket in economy class while the others fly first class. The trip is cut short however by an outburst from Annie, who had accepted a sedative and liquor from Helen to soothe her massive fear of flying and begins to hallucinate. The plane makes an emergency landing in Casper, Wyoming, and the party takes a bus back home. Annie apologizes, but Lillian decides it’s best if Helen takes over planning the bridal shower and wedding.
Annie strikes up a friendship with Nathan Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd), a kind Irish-American State Patrol officer who lets her off without a ticket for broken tail lights. Nathan, who had been a customer at Annie's bakery, encourages her to open a new bakery, and after a romantic night together, Nathan surprises her with baking supplies. Annie is overwhelmed and leaves. She is soon fired from the jewelry store for arguing with and cursing at a teenage customer and is then kicked out by her roommates, forcing her to move in with her mother.
Annie travels to Helen's home in Chicago for the bridal shower, which is Parisian-themed--an idea of Annie's that Helen had rejected. Helen upstages Annie's heartfelt, handmade gift by giving Lillian a trip to Paris. Finally fed up of constantly being overshadowed by Helen, Annie throws a foul-mouthed tantrum and lashes out at both Helen and Lillian, destroying the outside decor; angry that Annie has now ruined every event in her wedding, Lillian kicks her out of the shower and the wedding. Driving home, Annie's still-broken tail lights result in a car accident but the other driver flees. Nathan arrives on the scene, admonishing Annie for not fixing her tail lights or taking responsibility for her life, and, still stung by her experiences with Ted and her ex-boyfriend, she accuses him of only wanting sex from her. Hurt, Nathan storms off when Ted arrives to give Annie a ride. When Ted tries to get Annie to perform oral sex in the car, she breaks off their relationship and walks home.
Annie becomes reclusive, but Megan arrives with a pep talk, telling her to stop blaming the world for her problems and take control of her life. Annie resumes baking, gets her car fixed, and tries to make amends with Nathan, who ignores her. On the day of the wedding, Helen appears at Annie's doorstep begging for help finding Lillian, who has disappeared. Helen apologizes to Annie, revealing that people only involve her in their lives because she is good at planning events, but she does not have any true female friends and due to her husband's frequent work travel she finds herself alone a lot. Enlisting Nathan’s help, they find Lillian at her own apartment, having fled her wedding because of Helen's extravagant planning and fear of leaving her life in Milwaukee. Annie reconciles with Lillian, and resumes her role as maid of honor.
After the wedding, which Annie agrees with Helen is "perfect", they hope to become friends, and Helen has arranged for Nathan to pick Annie up. Nathan and Annie reconcile, and ride away in his police car.
- Kristen Wiig as Annie Walker
- Maya Rudolph as Lillian Donovan
- Rose Byrne as Helen Harris III
- Melissa McCarthy as Megan Price
- Wendi McLendon-Covey as Rita
- Ellie Kemper as Becca
- Chris O'Dowd as Officer Nathan Rhodes
- Jill Clayburgh as Judy Walker
- Matt Lucas as Gil
- Rebel Wilson as Brynn
- Michael Hitchcock as Don
- Tim Heidecker as Douglas "Doug/Dougie" Price
- Ben Falcone as Air Marshall Jon
- Dana Powell as Flight Attendant Claire
- Mitch Silpa as Flight Attendant Steve
- Terry Crews as Rodney
- Jillian Bell as Girl at Shower
- Franklyn Ajaye as Lillian's father
Major uncredited appearances include: Jon Hamm as Ted, Annie's sex buddy; Grammy Award-winning accordionist, pianist, and composer Nick Ariondo as the accordion player; and Emmy, Drama Desk and Grammy Award winner Pat Carroll as the old woman in car.
The film's co-writers, Wiig and Annie Mumolo, appear together when Mumolo plays the credited role of Nervous Woman on Plane, while the film's director, Paul Feig, appears uncredited as one of the wedding guests. Carnie Wilson, Chynna Phillips and Wendy Wilson appears as themselves, performing as Wilson Phillips at the wedding.
Paul Rudd was to appear as a man who Annie goes on a blind date with, but the scene was cut from the final film.
—Producer Judd Apatow
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 their comedy-drama television series Freaks and Geeks. Wilson, who improvised for Apatow and Feig for an hour during her audition, impressed them so much 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 Lillian, eventually losing to Wiig's Saturday Night Live colleague Maya Rudolph. Rose Byrne initially also auditioned for Lillian, 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 positive reviews upon its release, with praise towards Wiig & Mumolo's screenplay and also McCarthy's performance. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 90% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 291 reviews, with an average score of 7.60/10. The site's critical consensus states: "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 gives the film a score of 75 out of 100 based on reviews from 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 stars of out 4, and said 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 of 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. Abby Koenig of The Houston Press enjoyed Kristen Wiig's comedic talents, but disliked the frequency of "raunchy jokes" throughout the film, writing that "we need more funny females getting the spotlight. However, we also need women that can crack you up without making you watch them have diarrhea". Karina Longworth of The Village Voice criticised the inconsistency of the film's tone, stating that certain scenes have "a kind of dumb crassness that works against Bridesmaids' often smart, highly class-conscious deconstruction of female friendship and competition. Comedy of humiliation is one thing; a fat lady shitting in a sink is another."
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 at the North American domestic box office and $119,276,798 in international markets, totalling $288,383,523. Universal 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.
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 was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in theatrical (125 minutes) and unrated (130 minutes) versions on September 20, 2011. Special features include a Line-O-Rama (a feature popular among Apatow releases), deleted, extended, and alternate scenes, and a Cholodecki's jewelry store 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 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."
When asked about her potential involvement, 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 McCarthy's character Megan. McCarthy dispelled the rumors that she would consider returning for a sequel without Wiig saying, "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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