Bridesmaids is one of the best comedies of the last ten years, and it seems on first glance like a classically constructed story, but the checklist we ran yesterday shows some interesting deviations. Let’s look at two:
- Deviation #1: The strands of the movie don’t come together at the end.
- The Potential Problem: It’s really weird that the main plots never really intertwine—Yes, Helen briefly meets the cop, but he has little affect on the main story (Annie’s relationship with Lillian) and he doesn’t even attend the wedding.
- Does the Movie Get Away With It? Eh, it bugged me a little bit. I would have like to see his storyline interwoven into the movie a little better. I kept wondering as I watched the movie, “Was this whole storyline added in post-production?” I’m still wondering. I love both storylines, but I think that they’re two great tastes that would have tasted great together.
- Deviation #2: On paper, Annie seems like a fairly uninspiring protagonist.
- The Potential Problem: Let’s look at all the character ‘no’s on the checklist: She’s not good or clever at her job. She doesn’t have a strong self-image, or three rules she lives by. She’s largely buffeted by events and reacts as anyone would. She doesn’t just fail once at the mid-point—she suffers nine disasters in a row and becomes horribly depressed, which seems like a little much. She never becomes proactive: even when she pitches in to help at the end, she does so only because Helen asks her to. She never takes charge of the situation or gets out in front of her troubles.
- Does the Movie Get Away With It? Surprisingly, it does. True, the third quarter is a downer, but the movie earns it by rooting Annie’s crisis to real-world pain: Annie extraordinary suffering is tied to America’s extraordinary suffering… Robert Kirkman famously created “The Walking Dead” to explore what happens after most zombie movies end. Likewise, Bridesmaids shows what happens after most romantic comedies end: she’s already had the traditional happy ending: her boyfriend helped her start her own business doing what she loved to do! But what happens when the economy crashes, the business fails and the boyfriend leaves? That horrible situation, reflecting the grim economic reality of so many Americans right now, fuels this movie, and allows it to go much darker than most romantic comedies dare to go. Ultimately, we are able to root for Annie throughout, despite her passivity and almost-bottomless depression. In fact, we totally love her, but the movie is walking a dangerous line, and it could have easily lost us.