Bridesmaids still slays. That’s the verdict of this week’s The Hold Up. Directed by Paul Fieg, written by Kristen Wiig, and starring Wiig, Maya Rudoplh, Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy, the film remains a classic for numerous reasons. While we could never prepare an exhaustive list, here are a few reasons why Bridesmaids is still the best damn comedy of 2011. Here’s why:
Female Friendship Is Paramount
While the film’s inciting force is Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding, her fiance doesn’t really matter. I don’t think we ever hear hin speak. I can’t even remember his name! Why? Because he’s not important to the plot. Rather, the plot is about how major life events like marriage or babies can reshape – and strain – people’s friendships. The fight scenes happen between female characters, and so do the loving makeup scenes. Bridesmaids is a romantic comedy, but it’s about the friends who are there for you at your wedding, rather than the guy you’re marrying.
Sure, Kristin Wiig’s character does also date a cute police officer (which is one thing that doesn’t age well. Couldn’t he be a cute firefighter instead?); however, this subplot never takes precedence over her complicated feelings for bestie Lillian. O’Dowd is cute, but Lillian is the love of Annie’s life…
Female friendships are so important to almost every woman I know. And it’s nice to see a movie that respects the sacrosanct bonds between women. Amen!
It Actually Addresses Income Inequality
Annie (Kristen Wiig) is Lillian’s oldest friend. They grew up together, learned to drive together and hang out just reading magazines and drinking wine, as casual as two humans can be together. However, as Lillian meets and prepares to marry a wealthy Chicagoan, things change. Annie’s bakery has recently failed, and she’s nowhere near the same income bracket as her best friend. The film really tackles how class can complicate friendships, representing all the sticky moments when the expense of being a beloved friend’s bridesmaid is actually a burden. I mean, just because you love someone, that doesn’t mean you have the money for a Bachelorette weekend in Vegas!
So many of the movie’s tensions come down to Annie not having the same economic freedom as Lillian’s other friends, like the impossibly elegant Helen. It’s so refreshing to see a film actually dealing with money, and the fact that lots of people don’t have it…
It Showcases Women Being Freaking Hilarious
There still aren’t many comedies headlined by women. And that’s because the patriarchy obstinately continues to doubt our ability to be funny; however, the patriarchal leaders of our world have clearly never seen this Bridesmaids, because Bridesmaids slays! From the toilet humour when everyone gets food poisoning while shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses, to Annie’s deadpan reactions to her weird British roommates, this film shows female comedians are capable of making all the jokes.
Next time you hear some some sexist doubt women’s capacity for humour, please show them the “Rival Toast Scene,” where Annie and her fellow bridesmaid/mortal enemy Helen compete to see who can deliver the more moving toast to their shared best friend. I swear that scene is comic genius of the highest order.
Bridesmaids is as almost as relevant in 2021 as it was ten years ago. While I’d hope the cast would feature more diversity if the film were remade today, it remains a beautiful tribute to female friendship, an incisive commentary on income inequality within friendship circles, and a celebration of freaking hilarious ladies. That’s a pretty solid legacy…