Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Theoharides On Bridesmaids

Welcome to Wednesday, my Puddlers. Its been a rainy week here in New York, so that means there are plenty of actual, literal puddles to jump on, slide around in and pour down your pants. However, rain or shine there will always be Puddles of Myself to enjoy. 

I hope you all enjoyed the Fleet Foxes review from yesterday. Next week we will have the Top 20 Friendships of All-Time as well as our regular columnists Alex Theoharides and Mark Jack. I am still accepting any guest submissions to feature so please feel free to e-mail me at any time.

I just want to mention three links today. You may have noticed the tag-line on the page header giving a shout out to Sea Bean Goods and Real Sorbet. These are two culinary endeavors undertaken by great friends of mine and recommend that you throw your full support behind both. You can find links on the sidebar to the right.  Also, please check out Sam Skarstaad's new album. The first track alone is worth a download or just five streaming minutes of your time.

Now, I turn it over to Alex Theoharides to pick up the slack.

Theoharides On Bridesmaids or Why I Gave Up My Saturday Night to Watch Jon Hamm Act Like a Class A Richard

Alex Theoharides

First, a clearing of my rather snobbish nose: If I have to watch another topical George Clooney film about the war in Iraq or the state of the Economy, I might just have to write a blog post about how much I hate modern films (Oh crap, I think I just… ).  I’ve largely lost interest in movies as televisions shows such as The Wire, The Office, Mad Men, Friday Night Lights, and my latest craze, Sons of Anarchy, have consumed most of my viewing time. Movies are too long, too predictable, and quite often, just too damn run-of-the-mill. There are several better things I could do on a Saturday night—namely watch the NBA Playoffs, which, might I add, have been fantastic.

However, this past Saturday night there were no NBA games on, it was cold and rainy in Minneapolis (go figure), and after spending the previous few weeks in a state of extreme depression due to the demise of the Celtics, I owed my gal (henceforth known by her pseudonym Myrtle Schmeckpepper) a night spent watching a mindless chick flick. Which isn’t to suggest I don’t enjoy chick flicks. I have two sisters and I grew up watching Anne of Green Gables and Little Women and Little House on the Prairie and When Harry Met Sally and the Gilmore Girls and and and …  the list goes on. It only got worse in college, peaking when I spent a fortnight plowing through the first two seasons of the show Felicity (#unforgivable). In fact, I’d go as far as to say that after graduating from Skidmore College, with its 60-40 girls to guy ratio, I earned an advanced degree in Chick Flicks. I know why Love Actually can be perceived as arrogant male propaganda (really?, an Ugly Brit manages to score four sexually adventurous girls in a Wisconsin bar?). I could write a term paper on why Rory Gilmore (of previously mentioned Gilmore Girls’ fame) had to leave Logan in the show’s final episode to follow the Obama campaign (yes because that’s how journalism careers are made). And without breaking a sweat, I could tell you why Joey Potter (yes, Tommy Cruise’s cuddle buddy) chose Pacey Witter over Dawson Leery even though the show (yes, idiots, Dawson’s Creek) was named after him. It had something to do with this and this. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t particularly difficult for Ms. Schmeckpepper to convince me of the value of going to see a movie, especially when I read in Molly Lambert’s excellent Grantland teaser that it had the potential to become a female Caddyshack.

Please note, teaser alert begins now. Although anyone who thinks that Bridesmaids is the type of movie that needs a teaser alert is an idiot. (Sorry Matt, I promise I’ll stop calling your readers idiots soon, I promise)(after this one last time)(that’s right, you’re all idiots!)

Going to the theater is a rather miraculous experience in socialization. For some reason, if I’m watching a movie at home, and Ms. Schmeckpepper so much as fidgets in her seat , I feel the need to pause the program, shush her like that boy scout we all had in our third grade class who thought it was disrespectful to talk during the pledge of allegiance, and generally behave like a boor. However, within the rather sticky confines of a movie theater, I not only abide by any manner of sounds—the crunch of popcorn, the suck of straws, the ceaseless running of the mouth—I actually crave them, believing, naive schoolboy that I am, that they somehow add a certain quality to the experience, a sense of community, if you will. The crowd at Bridesmaids didn’t disappoint. I was out-gendered, easily 10 to 1.  The woman in front of me didn’t stop laughing from the moment the previews began. And the smell of buttery popcorn lingered over every seat. It was all so wonderful.

The movie was exactly what I expected it to be. Kristin Wiig, the only funny cast member left on Saturday Night Live, carried the performance from start (ladies, time to get your Hamm on) to finish (A Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” dance sequence, need I say more). She played a downbeat woman trying to find love in this crazy world of ours, all while trying to be her best friend’s Maid of Honor. Like any Judd Apatow movie (and yes, I know he was just the producer not the director, but it was still an Apatow movie) the dialogue was fresh, the comedy raunchy, and the bit characters often stole scenes from the stars. In particular, Melissa McCarthy (yes, Sookie St. James from the Gilmore Girls) killed it, becoming, I hope, this summer’s Zach Galifianakis. The only unfortunate side effect being that right around the time she began to take her talents to South Beach (if her talents were diarrhea and South Beach was a white porcelain sink) on the silver screen, I realized I could never watch Gilmore Girls in quite the same way. And yes, I re-watch Gilmore Girls. And yes, I often do so on the Soap Network. Why? Who’s asking?

Other stellar performances include Chris O’Dowd as Wiig’s likable, and discreetly funny love interest (think Seth Rogen from Knocked Up, minus the Mary Jane and man boobs, plus a badge and a Scottish accent), Rebel Wilson and Matt Lucas as a social inept brother sister tandem, and … unfortunately that’s it. Many of the actors came across flat. Particularly, Wiig’s best friend in the film, who was played by the a little to good to be believable Maya Ruldolph, and her antagonist, Rose Byrne, who plays a villainous bridesmaid that tries to steal the role of Maid of Honor from Wiig. The flatness in both cases was not the fault the actors—it was the fault of the writing. The actors were given stereotypical roles (flustered bride, overeager and lonely rich young wife) and asked to make magic. They didn’t. I can live with that.

Bridesmaids was a fun, summer movie. It wasn’t great, and sadly, it certainly wasn’t a Chick Flick Caddyshack. It just wasn’t.

Final grade: B-

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