|This is the dream, people.|
I don't know what gods I angered today, but it was a terribly frustrating one. You know those days - everything seems to not be in your favor - like driving to work you get stuck behind a pile of cars that decide it's a good idea to go 15 mph below the speed limit because you can never be too careful. But I like to live on the edge - I've been trying to beat my record coming home and there's this one light that always, always, gets my goose. And I hate it. It's the worst light in the world. No matter how fast or how strategically I drive, I can never beat that light. And if I beat that light, the rest of my trip home is cream cheese, folks. Because when I get stuck at that particular light, I get stuck at the next one and then I end up behind those douchebag pile of cars (I swear it's the same Dodge Stratus and Toyota Tercel everytime!). But the other night I was thisclose to victory. I had timed everything perfectly. I even had the light beat, but it changed to yellow one second too soon and I chickened out and applied my brakes viscerally. Of course, the next light I was stuck and then I got behind a tow truck hauling a ginormous old people bus out of a parking lot. I only have a week and a half to get this done for undisclosed reasons, so if you don't hear from me in a few weeks that means I'm working three different jobs to pay my enormous speeding ticket. Ahhhh, life in the fast lane. And now for a jarring segue into my number 7 pick for best picture!
7. Bridesmaids (R) - 125 minutes
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthyDirector: Paul Feig
This was number 9 on my most anticipated list last year and it certainly delivered. Probably the funniest movie I saw last year (although there were some strong contenders with Horrible Bosses and Bad Teacher), Bridesmaids proved that women can bring the funny. I thought the movie hit all the right notes with each character - Kristen Wiig was hilarious as the woman feeling left out, but who knew Rose Byrne could be just as funny? And even though the subject matter has been worn out to death, the movie did a great job of stepping outside the normal "chick flick" romantic comedy. This is straight up Hangover-esque material, just from a woman's perspective.
There's a moment in the movie where it could have gone into cliched territory - the girls go to Vegas! How great, it's becoming almost identical to The Hangover (sigh!), but then they don't even get to Vegas and the movie slides back into being more bold and original. But underneath all that zany physical comedy and fart jokes, there's a genuine story about two friends seemingly growing apart. Wiig's character refuses to come out of her shell and the announcement of her best friend's wedding prompts her to go off the deep end. There's great comedic chemistry between all the women, especially with Wiig and Byrne's rivalry reaching insane levels of idiocy (that enormous chocolate fountain and cookie were great set-pieces). And even Rose Byrne's character, who seemed completely one-dimensional (but oh-so hilarious) as the snooty and bitchy other bridesmaid, eventually shows another side to her flawed character - someone who's just as insecure as Wiig.
The rest of the cast is equally ready for the funny - Melissa McCarthy is well deserving of her Oscar nomination - she takes her physical comedy to a whole new level with this role. Ellie Kemper (The Office) and Wendy McLendon-Covey (Reno 911!) round out the rest of the 'maids and they're just as fun and feisty as the rest of the cast. Even Jon Hamm really hams it up (I am not sorry about that pun) as the asshole "boyfriend" of Wiig. But not all the guys are assholes - there's a sweet and charming relationship that Wiig has with a goofy but affable cop. In fact, Wiig is the asshole in that relationship - a great role reversal from her relationship with Mr. Handsome Hamm.
It's this blend of crude and ruthless humor with real and honest portrayals of these women that make the movie so special. I am grateful that Wiig and company don't plan on making a sequel like the studio wants - because I think they can tackle different subject matter and make it absolutely hilarious - their talent would be wasted on a dead story with the same characters. I would not be too surprised if the studio does make some sort of direct-to-DVD sequel where the bridesmaids end up going to Vegas and it just devolves into dumb fart and penis/vagina jokes with a cameo by Taylor Swift! Bridesmaids 2: Fearless!