Movie Review: Bridesmaids*.

 

*It has come to my attention that I give away too much in my movie reviews, so the asterisk will now serve as a blanket *spoiler alert* from now on.

Diarrhea, vomit, the c-word, (Judd) Apatovian-esque.

Those are the plot points, along with Maya Rudolph’s character, Lillian, getting married, as her best friend, Annie, played by writer Kristen Wiig, struggles to come to terms with it, that have been floating around in the lead-up to the most anticipated “chick flick” of the year.

Let me say, straight off the bat, that I hate Judd Apatow movies. I find them crass and full of sophomoric toilet humour. Knocked Up was the worst movie I saw in 2007, and that was also the year of the first Transformers and License to Wed, so that’s really saying something!

So I was a bit apprehensive that the film was being compared to Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin and The Hangover. So if Bridesmaids was just going to be equating the feeling of sandbags to breasts and and showing crowning from a female’s point of view, you could count me out.

I’d been hearing about the hype surrounding the film for a few months on Jezebel and, in turn, the Australian media as its June release date came closer and closer.

I’m here to tell you that it does live up to said hype.

Bridesmaids deals with besties Annie and Lillian, and how their friendship begins to change—not for the better, in Annie’s mind—once Lillian gets engaged and fellow bridesmaid Helen comes on the scene.

Helen is played by Rose Byrne, who I’m not biggest fan of, but after seeing her in this, I have to acknowledge her acting chops. Byrne made my blood boil with her portrayal of Helen, an entitled Stepford wife who takes over the planning of Lillian’s hens weekend, bridal shower and—eventually—her wedding, too.

I audibly grunted every time she was on screen, each time more infuriating than the last, making her a contender for villain of the year, in my book.

Wiig was so endearing as Annie; someone you would want as your own best friend. Until she starts to let Helen get to her, subsequently ruining Lillian’s hens weekend with her drunken airplane shenanigans, and trashing her French-themed bridal shower, the idea for which Helen stole from Annie and claimed as her own… with take-home Labrador puppies as party favours! Animal cruelty, much?!

It is very easy to empathise with Annie. She dates a jerk who puts her down all the time and won’t commit, but is drop dead gorgeous (Jon Hamm, please stand up), so doesn’t realise it when an actual good guy comes into her life and is encouraging and supportive. She “opened a bakery in a recession” and went bankrupt thereafter, so she really can’t afford weekend getaways to Las Vegas or $800 (“on sale!” as Helen exclaims) bridesmaids dresses. She gets fired from her job in a jewellery store for calling a teen customer a c*nt, evicted from her shitty, housing-commission-esque apartment she shares with British brother-and-sister odd-couple, played by Little Britain’s Matt Lucas, and Australia’s own Rebel Wilson, and eventually ends up moving in with her mum. All of this on top of the end of her friendship with Lillian because of Helen’s interference. Or so Annie thinks, and whiles away her unemployed days watching Castaway and feeling sorry for herself.

The movie is worth it for the aeroplane scene alone, in which the funniest joke of the movie resides. I won’t give it away as I’m pretty confident most everyone—men and women alike—will go to see it. It’s like the Hangover for girls, don’t you know?

Not all chick flicks have to suck!

Images via IMDb.

Sucker Punch’s Emily Browning on Slut-Shaming in Hollywood.

 

From an interview with the cast of Sucker Punch, “Fight Club”, in NYLON:

“I had a very tame and mild love scene with Jon Hamm. It was like, heavy breathing and making out. It was hardly a sex scene. Baby Doll has been sexually taken advantage of by her stepfather, and the idea of the scene is that, at the end, she’s finally taking control of her own sexuality because she’s realised how she needs to find her own freedom. And it correlates with that sex scene. It’s her essentially coming on to him.

“[Jenna Malone, who plays Rocket in the movie says] ‘She’s in control!’

“Exactly! And I think that it’s great for this young girl to actually take control of her own sexuality. Well, the MPAA [Motion Picture Association of America] doesn’t like that. They don’t think a girl should ever be in control of her own sexuality because they’re from the Stone Age…”

The scene was cut.

Maybe if it had remained, Sucker Punch could have lived up to its girl-power hype and not amounted to what it did.

Related: Sucker Punch Review.

Image via IMDb.

Movie Review: Sucker Punch.

 

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

This is what the main character’s, Babydoll, David Carradine-esque wise fairy godfather tells her midway through her pointless journey to find a map, a knife, fire, a key and… something else (which *spoiler alert* is when Babydoll realises the story is not about her, but Abbie Cornish’s Sweat Pea, and sacrifices herself to what is alluded to as gang rape in order for Sweat Pea to escape. On a side note, WTF is Cornish doing in this movie? She’s, like, a serious actress and stuff.).

Well Sucker Punch didn’t stand for anything (if you exclude the exercise in how bad movies are made, and the kinder-whore schoolgirl images in director Zack Snyder’s spank bank, which I have), and fell for every gratuitous slow-mo’ up-skirt shot in the book.

The film commences with an attempted rape scene, a trademark of Snyder’s. (Pop culture website The Vine suggests that Carla Gugino, who plays Polish psychiatrist/burlesque madame in Sucker Punch and the Silk Spectre in Watchmen, look into “an AVO against Snyder, given she has appeared in two of his films and her characters sexually assaulted in both”.) Babydoll is framed for the murders of her mother and sister, and is dragged away to an insane asylum in “skin-coloured, rain soaked PJs”.

There her father requests a lobotomy, which will go ahead in a few days. During that time, Babydoll escapes to the Inception-like double dreamland in her mind, where the asylum and its exclusively female inhabitants morphs into a burlesque club.

The only way she can—again—escape this fantasy land (if it’s Zac Snyder’s your fantasy, why would you want to escape it?) and entrance her subjects is by dancing, which then turns to a post-apocalyptic “ancient Japan (or maybe China; all look [the] same, right?)” where Babydoll and her insane/burlesque/warrior troupe meet the wise man espousing useless proverbs at every turn as they accumulate the four items they need.

Sucker Punch actually has potential; if not for the excessive violence, hideous sexualisation and the non-plotline, it could have been good.

The story eventually returns to the real life of the asylum when the lobotomist/High Roller (an out of place Jon Hamm) “comes for” Babydoll, which is the most interesting five minutes of the film.

The Vine says, “We don’t really give a shit about any of our heroines [three of which *spoiler alert* are murdered], because neither does the film: they have no inner-life, no story beyond ‘they are sex slaves in foxy pin-up outfits’.” I found myself daydreaming about an alternative mask I could wear to a masquerade party a few nights later; to me that was more interesting than sitting through the pointlessness.

Give me a pen and a copy of the script and I think even I could do the remnants of an okay storyline and Abbie Cornish justice. I will now be boycotting all future Snyder efforts. No emphasis on “effort”.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Why Sucker Punch Really, Truly Sucks.

[io9] Sucker Punch Goes Beyond Awful, to Become Commentary on the Death of Moviemaking.

[The Vine] Sucker Punch Movie Review.

Images via The Vine.