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New on DVD: Bridesmaids
  • September 19, 2011 : 20:09
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Director: Paul Feig
Rating: R
Studio: Universal

It's high time someone reinvented the chick flick, which is exactly what producer Judd Apatow, director Paul Fieg, and writers Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig attempt to do with Bridesmaids—a raunchy romantic comedy that is strong enough for a man, but written by two women.

Co-writer Wiig plays Annie, a single thirtysomething woman living in Milwaukee whose life could be better—her bakery has failed, she's sleeping with a narcissistic playboy (Jon Hamm), she rents an apartment with two dim bulbs and she makes a living by selling engagement rings at a second-rate jewelry store. Annie's best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is getting married and introduces Annie to her other bridesmaids, including cousin Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), idealist Becca (Ellie Kemper), crass future sister-in-law Megan (Melissa McCarthy) and princess-perfect Helen (Rose Byrne). Helen is the vain wife of Lillian's fiancé's boss, and her competitiveness with Annie to be a better friend to Lillian generates most of the laughs, like when the two keep swiping the mike from each other to out-toast Lillian at her engagement party or when Helen steals Annie's idea about a Parisian-themed bachelorette party.

As the competition between Annie and Helen escalates, so does the raunchiness. The centerpiece of this comedic buffet is when the gals chow down at a Brazilian restaurant, per Annie's suggestion, and take off to try on their gowns at an upscale boutique only to discover that they all have an unprecedented case of food poisoning, which results in a literally explosive situation in the dressing room. Lillian races into traffic in her wedding dress in a desperate attempt to locate the nearest restroom only to make do with squatting in the middle of the street—to gales of laughter from viewers who can't get enough poo jokes.

Wiig, who has been super funny on Saturday Night Live and Paul, steals scenes in Bridesmaids whether she is mixing sedatives with her cocktails and acting loony on a plane or desperately trying to get the attention of her would-be traffic cop boyfriend by continually driving past him and purposely breaking the law. The other actresses are equally game to turn up the R-rated humor, like when McCarthy makes a sexually aggressive pass at a federal marshal on a plane.

Writers Wiig and Mumulo have wrapped raunch and toilet humor around a female-centric comedy that, at its core, is about the ties that bind and being honest with yourself. The ladies push the light premise—and their luck—to the limit by stretching the film over two hours, but just when the movie seems to fall into the usual chick-flick trappings (shopping, pining for a man, obsessing about weddings), the movie hits you with something funny and unexpected. The filmmakers might not have completely reinvented the romantic comedy, but they disguised one in a way that pushes the genre in a different direction. Here's to hoping the next group pushes the rom-com over the edge.

Best extras: Both the unrated DVD and Blu-ray have a group audio commentary, a collection of the funniest improvised lines from the movie, deleted and extended scenes, a cheesy commercial for the jewelry store where Annie worked and a gag reel. The Blu-ray gets the last laugh with even more exclusive extras, including a behind-the-scenes featurette, more deleted and alternate scenes, plus another gag reel.

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