‘Bridesmaids' is charming

In this publicity image released by Universal Pictures, from left, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig are shown in a scene from "Bridesmaids." (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Suzanne Hanover)

Suzanne Hanover

"Bridesmaids" is the kind of comedy my fellow males and I have been waiting for: A chick flick that doesn't stink. Although to diminish "Bridesmaids" with a degrading label like "chick flick" hardly does the film justice. This is not a romantic comedy that deserves to be grouped with forgettable movies such as "Something Borrowed" and "Sex and the City 2." This is a charming and funny romp with an R-rated edge that will appeal to men and women alike.

Kristen Wiig has developed into one of the most recognizable contemporary female comedians with her work in "Knocked Up," "Adventureland" and "Paul." In "Bridesmaids" she gets an upgrade from scene-stealing supporting player to leading lady. She plays Annie, a failed businesswoman on the verge of having to move in with her mother. The closest thing Annie has to a boyfriend is an egotistical jerk named Ted, who would be completely unlikable if he weren't supplied with the spot-on comedic timing of Jon Hamm from "Mad Men." Annie is delighted when she learns that her life-long best friend Lillian, played by Maya Rudolph, is engaged. She soon discovers, however, that there's a heated competition for the role of Lillian's maid of honor.

Rose Byrne is perfect as Helen, a glamorous aristocrat who is constantly one-upping Annie in the competition to be Lillian's best friend. In one of the film's funniest sequences, Annie and Helen give speeches at Lillian's engagement party and refuse to let the other have the last word. Also good here is Ellie Kemper as an innocent newlywed and Wendi McLendon-Covey as a middle-aged mother who can't stand her children.

As excellent as the entire cast is, the standout of "Bridesmaids" is easily Mellissa McCarthy as Megan, the overweight sister of the groom who wears a carpal-tunnel glove at all times. McCarthy hogs every scene she's in with one hilarious line after another.

Even when Wiig gets drunk on a plane and causes a commotion, it's McCarthy who ends up stealing the show with her sidesplitting banter with an air marshal.

"Bridesmaids" was produced by Judd Apatow, who has typically worked on quote-unquote "guy movies" like "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Superbad." Along with Director Paul Feig, Apatow has brought us a comedy that proves that there are plenty of women in this industry who are just as capable of carrying a comedy.

The main credit for the success of "Bridesmaids," however, belongs to Kristen Wiig, who co-wrote the screenplay with Annie Mumolo in addition to starring.

Wiig shapes the character of Annie into somebody funny, sexy and sympathetic. Most importantly, Wiig is never afraid to make herself look potentially foolish for the sake of comedy.

She remembers something that many comedic actresses like Katherine Heigl, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Aniston seem to have forgotten: There's nothing funny about a leading lady who constantly looks stunning and who's only dilemmas revolve around men and shoes.

• Nick Spake is a college student at Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for five years, reviewing movies on his website, NICKPICKSFLICKS.com. Reach him at nspake@asu.edu.

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