‘Bridesmaids’ at 10: Being One Requires a Pinch of Humor & Cynicism

Fathom Events in collaboration with Turner Classic Movies is sponsoring a 10th Anniversary celebration of the Kristen Wiig/Annie Mumolo classic Bridesmaids on Sunday, June 6th, as well as the 9th and 10th. As part of FF2 Media’s support for this giddy, “gal-pal” milestone, Katusha Jin offers her take on the perils of being a bridesmaid. 

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In 2011, a movie poster with six women on it became the talk of the town. Not only is it a film written by women, but it also stars six women in an ensemble cast. Bridesmaids is an Oscar and BAFTA-nominated original screenplay written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. In numerous interviews, the duo explained that, in the beginning, they didn’t really know what they were doing. Their original screenplay came together in six days and then went on to go through years of drafts and fine-tuning.

Bridesmaids is different from most other films set in the weeks leading up to a wedding. Rather than sticking with the standard tropes of a romantic comedy, it has a much heavier focus on physical comedy and verbal cynicism. Within the first five minutes, we’re already seeing “Annie” (Kristen Wiig) sitting uncomfortably atop a moving gate as she tries and fails to inconspicuously slip out from the house where she just spent the night with her rich “friend-with-benefits.” This sets the audience up perfectly for what’s to come —something far from your typical “cute” film.

Another key element that really brings out the best in Bridesmaids is that it’s not about the bride–the character most audiences would naturally expect to be the central character. Instead, it’s about those who adorn the bride on her big day. Of course, this is no surprise given that the film’s title is Bridesmaids, but, as always, the devil is in the details. Their writing process began when screenwriters Wiig and Mumolo realized they wanted to write about the real-life experiences of being women in their 30s. Many of their friends were getting married, meaning they were both attending lots of showers followed by lots of weddings.

For single women, participating in these festive events—again and again—force them into a period of self-reflection: how to fend off the strong feeling of getting left behind in life. Between the constant comparisons with the married women surrounding them and the busy lives of juggling multiple jobs, Wiig and Mumolo wanted to draw out all of these inner doubts of self-worth.  In this context, of course, the BFF is the lead character rather than the bride herself. So while there is a fair share of the usual butterflies and dazzling wedding preparations scenes, Annie’s scenes serve to emphasize how it feels to be the BFF. In Bridesmaids, all the familiar bride-centric scenes serve as a backdrop to the BFF’s hilarious, cringeworthy attempts to keep from being the center of attention.

Playing Annie, Kristen Wiig creates a relatable, flawed character. Annie may feel like her life is sinking to rock bottom whilst her best friend is heading off in her carriage with Prince Charming. But all the time, we—Annie’s friends in the audience–learn to love her all the more.

By contrast, 27 Dresses—written by Aline Brosh McKenna and directed by Anne Fletcher—is a more routine take on the bridesmaid’s experience. Although the acting from Katherine Heigl as the forever-bridesmaid heroine, “Jane Nichols,” is very well done, 27 Dresses is more predictable (and therefore far less exciting). Once I realized that screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna was also the screenwriter behind the snappy and fast-paced The Devil Wears Prada, I was even more disappointed. Perhaps this is because McKenna felt more constrained by the RomCom genre?  Watching Katherine Heigl as “Jane Nichols”—a desperate bachelorette who dreams about her future perfect wedding—gave me the “awws.” Sure, 27 Dresses is a sweet RomCom to watch with some close friends, but, frankly, the big “laugh out loud” moments in Bridesmaids are a whole lot more fun.

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo’s collaboration definitely struck a chord with me. It’s a wedding film with lots of funny moments, but also has a good deal of cynicism and hope. And although it’s been a decade now since Bridesmaids’ initial release, I predict audiences will continue to react with big belly laughs well into the future.

Featured image courtesy of Fathom Events. All Rights Reserved.

From Left: Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Kirsten Wiig, and Maya Rudolph.

© Katusha Jin (5/27/21)–Special for FF2 Media

Tags: 27 Dresses, Aline Brosh McKenna, Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids, carousel-5-21, Katherine Heigl, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne

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As part of the FF2 Media team, Katusha Jin interviews filmmakers, write features and reviews, and coaches other associates. She grew up in the UK and studied briefly in Russia and China before moving to New York for college. Graduating magna cum laude from New York University, Katusha majored in Film and Television at Tisch School of the Arts with minors in Business and Philosophy. She has worked as a producer, director, writer, and composer for various award-winning projects including short films, branded content, independent features, and music videos.
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