For most women, being a bridesmaid is one of the most dreaded tasks that goes hand in hand with having a female friend (especially once you start to get to your mid-20s and everyone around you comes out of the woodwork with an engagement ring). In Paul Feig's Bridesmaids, the reasons for this dread are showcased in all of their glory as Annie Walker (Kristen Wiig) nearly loses the last semblance of her mind and self-esteem in the role of her best friend Lillian's (Maya Rudolph) maid of honor.
At first, Annie approaches her maid of honor duties with an almost plucky attitude, that is, until the wife of Lillian's fiancé's boss (that's a mouthful, isn't it?), Helen (Rose Byrne), throws the most lavish engagement party of all time and puts Annie to shame with a toast that makes everyone in the room shed a tear.
This, however, is only the beginning of Helen's quest to upstage and undermine every effort Annie makes to furnish Lillian with the quintessential pre-marriage activities (bridal shower, dress fitting, random hangouts with the bridal party, et cetera). Helen's poise and access to vast amounts of money give her an instant upper hand in wooing Lillian into thinking that she has chosen the wrong friend to be her maid of honor.
Kristen Wiig, who co-wrote the script with Groundling member Annie Mumolo, affirms that her comedic chops translate quite well from the Saturday Night Live sketches she is known for (Suze Orman, Penelope the compulsive liar, and her "Two Assholes Go to the Gym" sketch with Jason Sudeikis). In fact, her job as a jewelry store salesgirl echoes the pattern of her SNL characters as she tells her prospective customers things like, "You know, you're not as popular as you think you are."
As Annie feels Lillian slipping away from her, she continues a dalliance with the epitome of a douche bag--and the name to match--Ted (Jon Hamm), a guy who unabashedly proclaims, "This is so awkward. I really want you to leave, but I don't know how how to say it without sounding like a dick," after they bone. Her situation is dubbed by her mother (Jill Clayburgh, who, unfortunately, died of leukemia before the film's release) as "hitting rock bottom." Sidenote: Her mother is obsessed with attending AA meetings even though she isn't an alcoholic, hence her fondness for using terms like "hitting rock bottom."
The only stroke of good fortune Annie seems to have after being demoted to just plain bridesmaid (this is after getting fucked up on a plane on the way to Vegas and being air marshaled to Wyoming), getting fired from her job, and being kicked out of her apartment is her ability to snare the fancy of a police officer named Nathan Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd, cast member of one of the best British TV shows ever, The IT Crowd), the antithesis of what she is accustomed to with regard to how men usually treat her (her last boyfriend left her when her cake business, Cake Baby, went bankrupt).
Barring an occasionally drawn out scene here or there, Bridesmaids is, for the most part, a flawless comedy. Save for a few necessary moments of cheesiness that are part and parcel for most Apatow-produced films (e.g. a Wilson-Phillips cameo and pep talks that consist of dialogue like, "You're your problem. And you're your solution."), Bridesmaids is basically the female version of The Hangover. And, after all, very few comediennes can get away with what Kristen Wiig can achieve in her role as the spurned underdog who triumphs in the end.