Fiercely funny and wonderfully warm

I AM not the kind of girl that makes a habit of watching chick flicks, so it was with some trepidation that I made the trip to see Bridesmaids at the weekend.

In my head I imagined a saccharine sweet movie crammed full of cheesy moments, with the obligatory love story thread thrown in for good measure.

As it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Bridesmaids manages to be both fiercely funny and reassuringly warm, performed by a fantastic and predominantly female cast.

The film charts the story of best friends Annie (Kristen Wiig) and Lillian (Maya Rudolph). Friends since childhood, now they are in their thirties their lives couldn’t be any more different.

Annie considers herself a failure. Her bakery business has gone out of business, and she is forced to walk past it every day on the way to her new job in a jewellery shop.

She is stuck in a non-relationship with a man who refuses to let her stay the night, and is sharing a flat with a slightly odd Englishman (Matt Lucas) and his snooping sister who reads her diary and tries on her clothes.

When Lillian announces she is engaged and asks Annie to be her maid of honour, she jumps at the chance. But it isn’t long before the wheels start falling off – big time.

Lillian’s engagement party is where we meet the motley crew that are to be her bridesmaids.

Lillian’s cynical cousin Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), idealistic friend Becca (Ellie Kemper), raunchy future sister-in-law Megan (Melissa McCarthy) AND Helen (Rose Byrne) a wealthy woman who is practically perfect in every way.

Annie takes an instant dislike to the super-rich Helen. At the party when asked to make speeches, the pair comically try and out-do each other to prove who loves Lillian the most, culminating in a ear piercing singing contest.

This sets the scene for a fantastically bitchy rivalry which continues throughout the film.

Annie’s first task as maid of honour is to organise lunch and dress shopping for her new charges.

Helen is less than impressed when they rock up to a back street Brazilian restaurant that Annie assures them is wonderful. Unsure, Helen refuses to eat anything while the others tuck in.

All seems to be going well when they head to an exclusive designer dress shop. But disaster strikes as all but one of them is struck down with a violent case of food poisoning. Helen takes her chance and orders the dresses she wants.

In one of the funniest scenes in the film the five women are left desperate as they fight each other to make it to a bathroom in time. With Lillian not being one of the lucky ones.

This is the first in a long line of disasters with Annie at the centre, including the hen night and bridal shower.

Locked in a constant battle with the conniving Helen, Annie becomes more and more crazy as she tries to stay in control of proceedings

Where Bridesmaids differs from other female-lead films such as Sex And The City, is in its relationships.

The women’s relationships with their respective men in irrelevant. It is their relationships with each other that take centre stage.

But despite its cast and its subject matter, this is far from being a girls only film. It really is something that guys will enjoy too.

Bridesmaids is heart-warming, moving laugh-out-loud funny and brilliantly acted.

If you want to walk out of the cinema feeling happy and uplifted, then this is definitely the film for you.

Claire O’Neill

Star rating HHHH

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