Last night I had a lovely time recreating that Orange Wednesdays adverts with The Wicked Witch of the West and her friend Vicki – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU8D9QugbiM. No, I did not rock up to the cinema with a broomstick (my sister has it this week so we had to drive instead, typical) but I did go with my wonderful friend, Victoria. I really am who I am because of Vikki. I love her more than salt and vinegar. And I had not seen her for far too long, which may partially explain my reaction to Bridesmaids.
It was quite simply the best time I have ever had at the cinema. I left feeling elated and filled with love for the world and all of girl-kind. Not only was Bridesmaids so funny that everyone in my screening forgot to be reservedly British and were alternately howling with laughter and screaming in horror at the antics of the bridesmaids in question, but it was so intelligently written that I had to fight the urge to cry tears of wondrous joy. I knew I would be counting down the days until the DVD release approximately five minutes into the film, where the maid of honour, Annie (Kristen Wiig) and bride-to-be, Lillian (Maya Rudolph) discuss how it can be a bit terrifying when men get, shall we say, too ‘in your face’. It was the kind of girly banter that happens every day in reality but so rarely on the big screen, without the unrealistic extravagance of Sex and the City. There was a decided lack of grand gestures or happily-ever-afters. Romantic love was in fact nowhere to be seen. Instead, Bridesmaids explores the love a woman has for her best friend and the hilarious consequences of pushing that love to the limit.
But beneath the humour the film was peppered with darker moments that will resonate with any girl with a mother, a best friend, a sex life, or a love of cupcakes. “Yes,” I thought, over and over, “stick me in a James Joyce novel and call me Penelope, yes.” Yes, it is awful when your mother gives you unwanted pep talks about how bad your life is. Yes, it is awful when you feel that someone is trying to sabotage your relationship with your best friend. Yes, it is awful when every man you meet ends up making you want to run away. And yes, it is awful when you realise that you are to blame for it all. (Oh and yes, it is definitely better just to bake one sad little cupcake at a time rather than risk eating a whole tray at once.)
In fact, as the film goes on and thirty-something single Annie finds herself under more and more pressure as maid of honour in a group of married bridesmaids, the comedy comes from how badly she deals with status envy as the women around her constantly highlight her failure in business, romance, and friendship. Lillian’s preparation for the happiest day of her life creates an ever-increasing hole in Annie’s, as she systematically loses everything: her flat, her job, her love interest (Chris O’Dowd), her best friend, and seemingly her mind. “Why can’t you be happy for me and then go home and talk about me behind my back like a normal person?!” screams Lillian as Annie throws chocolate fondue all over her engagement shower.
Which is the crux of it, because Annie’s trouble comes from an inability to keep her mouth shut in the face of the pantomime ridiculousness of a wedding with live butterflies in the invitations and puppies as party favours, that manages to make her look idiotic. The number one rule of female friendship is to humour the occasional bout of insanity. This is one of the many reasons why I love Vikki and the rest of my girlfriends: they humour me on a really, really regular basis.