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Review: 'Bridesmaids'

This Judd Apatow-produced movie relies on toilet humor for easy laughs.

Set in Milwaukee and Chicago, Bridesmaids tracks the fortunes of a group of female friends as they navigate the various events that necessarily precede a celulloid wedding: dress fittings, bridal showers, bachelorette parties and girl fights. Pre-release buzz indicated that the Judd Apatow-produced movie, written by and starring Saturday Night Live's Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, would give Hollywood a dose of what it lacked: girl power.

If Bridesmaids can be said to be groundbreaking for women, though, it's by the dubious distinction that they can make fart jokes, too. The film's humor is of the scatalogical variety, while burping and vomiting wisecracks are heavily encouraged.

Like Bride Wars, in which BFFs Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson fall out over their upcoming nuptials, Bridesmaids shows that women are incapable of enjoying their friends' happiness when it comes to getting hitched. Antiheroine Annie (Wiig) is upset when her lifelong friend Lillian (Rudolph) announces her engagement, leaving her the sole single; her solipsism knows no bounds. When she picks a fight with Lillian's new friend, Helen (Rose Byrne), she tells her crying rival that "it's the first time I've seen you look ugly and that makes me kinda happy."

Bridesmaids drags on for 125 minutes, a fault of the editing: Not only do individual scenes wring the last ounce out of every gag, but the reaction shots linger, leaving perplexed facial expressions floundering long after every belch has faded. The film's only redeeming moments come from animals: Watch out for brief cameos by raccoons, puppies, a horse and a butterfly, who, unlike their rowdy homosapien counterparts, neither poop nor vomit.

In bromances like I Love You, Man and The Hangover, men define marriage as the stuff of nightmares. In Bridesmaids, women can't live with it (as evinced by Rita and Becca, who are both largely ignored by their husbands) but can't live without it, either (Annie suffers the ultimate humiliation of showing up solo to an engagement party.) It's a double bind to be sure, but Bridesmaids' portrayal of the state of matrimony–and platonic relationships between women–is without innovation.

Director: Paul Feig. Producer: Judd Apatow. 2011. 125 minutes. Rated R. Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey.

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