Mention a trip to see Bridesmaids and someone will likely comment "oh yeah, the female version of The Hangover". A raucous wedding comedy, based around a bridal party's relationships and pre-wedding carry-on, Bridesmaids is certainly filled with hangovers and Hangover-like humour - but who cares? It's just so damn funny.
Written by Saturday Night Live comedian Kristen Wiig and screenwriter Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids signals a shift in mainstream female-centric comedies from sweet and cuddly to sweet and crude. Produced by Judd Apatow, of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up fame, it has all the qualities you'd expect - scatological humour and awkward situations mixed with honest observations. This time it's the girls who get to behave badly - and they're good at it.
At the centre of the story are Annie and Lillian, played by Wiig and her real life good friend and SNL co-star, Maya Rudolph. A little down on life and luck, as she recovers from a failed relationship and business venture, Annie needs to rally when her best friend Lillian becomes engaged and asks her to be maid of honour.
This is where Lillian's new "bestie" and fellow bridesmaid Helen (Byrne) comes in; she's perfect, pert, competitive and an experienced saboteur. With Helen on the team Annie has little chance of pulling off any of her duties, and as the engagement party, hens' do, bridal shower and dress fittings all descend into chaos, Lillian and Annie's relationship also frays somewhat.
Bridesmaids is filled with stereotypical characters having stereotypical relationships - the nice girl with the fondness for jerks, the yummy mummy, the bitch ... you get the idea. It is also mostly a series of skits joined together a little unevenly by a predictable storyline. There's even a romantic subplot with Annie struggling to decide between her conceited Porsche-driving sex-buddy (Mad Men's Jon Hamm) or the more obvious keeper, a charming and caring cop (Irish comedian Chris O'Dowd).
Somehow it doesn't matter. In the hands of such competent comedians (including Mike & Molly's Melissa McCarthy), and with plenty of funny and smart lines, hilarious performances and easy to swallow poignant moments, it's easy to forgive Bridesmaids its faults.
Much of this is to do with the chemistry between Wiig and Rudolph: they literally can finish each others sentences and they improvise off each other brilliantly; the result is an easily relatable relationship.
No, it's not perfect, but it's the best laugh I've had at the movies in a long time.
Cast: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Bryne
Director: Paul Feig
Running time: 127 mins
Rating: R16 (Offensive language, sexual material and other content that may offend)
Verdict: Scandalously good fun.