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Kristen Wiig stars in 'Bridesmaids': movie review

Kristen Wiig: More subtle than 'The Hangover,' 'Bridesmaids' still has a strong gross-out element, which Saturday Night Live's Kristen Wiig excels at.

By Peter RainerFilm critic / May 13, 2011

In this publicity image released by Universal Pictures, from left, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig are shown in a scene from " Bridesmaids."

Suzanne Hanover/Universal Pictures/AP

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The people who made "Brides­maids," the first movie starring "Sat­urday Night Live" fave Kris­ten Wiig, would like you to know that, despite that title, it is not "The Hangover" for chicks. It's about something, well, deeper – like relationships.

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But "The Hangover," the sequel of which is almost upon us, was about relationships, too – relationships groaning with gross-out antics. And, whether it's by design (cynical me) or serendipity, "Bridesmaids" also has its share of slobbola moments. These moments may help make it the top dating movie of the season. Couples can bond while going "Eeeeuuww!"

As is true of most of the movies from the Judd Apatow mill, I wanted to laugh at "Bridesmaids" more often than I found myself actually laughing. In part, this is because his films are an odd combination of formulaic and formless. I often have the feeling I'm watching a rough cut – scenes go on for too long, ideas are undeveloped, or overdeveloped, and even the good stuff gets milked.

But it's also true that his films, which include "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up," have an appealing emotional nakedness (to go with the other kind of nakedness). Also, despite the plethora of men behaving badly, the women in these films are rarely denigrated. They're generally smarter and a lot more grown-up than the men – or man-boys.

All this is by way of explaining that "Bridesmaids," directed by "Freaks and Geeks" cocreator Paul Feig and co-written by Wiig and Annie Mumolo, is not quite the gender-bender that some people were expecting, nor is it simply a guy comedy in drag. In the Apatovian realm, women have always been more than decoration.

They are also fully capable of acting as idiotic as the men, which represents a kind of equality. In "Bridesmaids," Wiig plays Annie, an obsessive malcontent from Milwaukee whose pastry business folded; she now works as a sales clerk at a jewelry store where she covertly dispenses doomy advice to couples shopping for wedding rings. The only man in her life (Jon Hamm) is a smooth operator who uses her for quick sex. For reasons that go beyond masochism, she shares an apartment with a fantastically slovenly and annoying British girl and her brother.

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