Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

American Bridesmaids -v- English Inbetweeners

Here at the Projector we like to be positive about things – movies, music, art, books, People We Like, etc – and leave negativity outside. Sometimes though something comes along which one just cannot get enthusiastic about … such is BRIDESMAIDS. It is a chore just recounting the plot … do I have to?

Annie's life is a mess. But when she finds out her lifetime best friend is engaged, she simply must serve as Lillian's maid of honor. Though lovelorn and broke, Annie bluffs her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals. With one chance to get it perfect, she'll show Lillian and her bridesmaids just how far you'll go for someone you love, as the blurb says.

I thought this would be hilarious and bought it as one of many gifts for Christmas – but we sat there in mainly bemused silence as it unfolded, over two hours, with quite a lot of tedium. Even the gross-out scenes did not amuse.

The problem I have with it is that we do not get SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE here in the UK, so most of these SNL people are unknown to me. I had never seen Kristen Wiig before, nor Melissa McCarthy who plays Megan. The humour seems disjointed, like scenes or skits just linked together with no dramatic progress. The scene on the plane for instance starts out funny and then goes on and on and on … likewise, that extended scene when the two rivals (Wiig and DAMAGES’ Rose Byrne, ideal here as the annoyingly perfect Helen) keep grabbing the microphone as they compete to show how much they mean to the bride Maya Rudolph.

It was good though to see Jill Clayburgh one more time, and I did not recognise Jon Hamm as the dickhead casual boyfriend, and there was Matt Lucas in a few scenes.

Kristin Wiig though plays a sad loser, working in a job she hates after her bakery folded, she ends up having to return home to her mother as her room-mates don’t want her, so she is naturally jealous and resentful as plans for the wedding and Helen’s largesse get out of hand, and her relationship with that nice cop goes in fits and starts and is too protracted.

To sum it up - I just found it mainly unfunny, poorly written and masquerading as a comedy. There are a lot of American comedies that I find less than amusing nowadays and which seem to be focused on teenage boys and their bodily functions; this female version isn’t any better, but is so forgettable I will soon have totally forgotten it.

Kristen Wiig is merely the latest in a long series of "actors" like Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, David Spade, Rob Schneider, etc. Big screen comedies basically have been taken over by the alumni from SNL and the talent emanating from the stable of Judd Apatow. They may be good at comedy sketches but need to learn how to develop a storyline arc to cover 90 minutes, let alone 2 hours!

Overall, the movie seems to paint a negative picture of women. I was surprised that this was written by a woman (directed by Paul Feig) - it basically portrays women as sad, unable to function without a man, catty and superficial and determined to out-do each other. So no, I won't be rushing to watch the dvd extras: the deleted/extended scenes, the gag reel, the bloopers etc. But its not just me - the IMDB reviews for instance are so polarised, people either love it or hate it.

THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE on the other hand is madly funny and I liked it a lot, despite it being "focused on teenage boys and their bodily functions"! Go figure.

One of the hits of the summer THE INBETWEENERS movie follows the 4 lads from the hit tv series as they finish school and go on holiday to Malia in Crete - one of those Greek holiday spots like Falaraki in Rhodes. Predictable yes, but fast and really funny. This was my first encounter with the boys, as I had not seen the 3 series of the tv show [but have now got the boxset to rectify that - each half hour show should be fast and funny]. Anyone who watches the show knows the set up of the boys: Will, bespectacled, well-mannered but altogether massively irritating - but the one we identify with; his best friend Simon, who goes on and on about his ex-girlfriend who clearly doesn’t feel anything for him - she also turns up on holiday here; dim and slow-witted Neil, and Jay, chronically lying about women he’s shagged, things he’s done, and er, women he’s shagged. The four boys’ ridiculously embarrassing travails through life made for three hugely entertaining series on channel 4, so now comes the obligatory big screen outing.

Critics have hailed THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE as prurient, juvenile, and relentlessly crude. It is. Some of the jokes do fall flat, but the ones that are good are great, and coupled with a cheesy-cool soundtrack, some genuine drama and an arsenal of one-liners that will have you hiding behind your hands with embarrassment. It pretty much does what it says it would on the tin, with an added bonus of the unexpected but genuine satisfaction the viewer gets from seeing the 4 boys become men – sort of, as they sort out their entanglements with 4 very different girls as it all culminates on a boat cruise. Satisflyingly enjoyable then. Sorry, Bridesmaids.

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