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Bridesmaids’ a superior female version of ‘Hangover’

Courtesy of MCT

Although R-rated comedies have gotten funnier in recent years, they haven’t given their female characters a whole lot to do. For the most part, the women spend much of their time disapproving of the antics of their husbands and boyfriends. The men go out and have all the fun, while the ladies stay home.

The new comedy “Bridesmaids” looks to change that, and does so in hilarious fashion.

“Saturday Night Live” cast member Kristen Wiig stars as Annie, a down-on-her-luck single woman who is asked to be maid of honor to her childhood friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph). As she goes about planning the wedding, just about everything goes wrong one way or the other.

Many have preemptively dismissed “Bridesmaids” as “The Hangover” for girls. Although these two films have a great deal in common, “Bridesmaids” has a bit more going for it. “The Hangover” is often quite hilarious, but it’s also dumber than a bag of hammers, and ultimately empty.

In contrast, by the end of “Bridesmaids” audiences actually care about Annie’s fate, and that makes the comedy work all the better.

Of course, “Bridesmaids” is flawed. While its main characters are effectively fleshed-out, it introduces several potentially interesting supporting characters that never quite get their day in the sun. Although it’s awfully long for a comedy — it comes in at more than two hours — a great deal of its universe still feels a bit unexplored.

Ultimately, these are quibbles. Audiences don’t go to a movie like “Bridesmaids” seeking rich character development. They go looking for pure hilarity, and on that count this movie succeeds more often than not. Wiig proves to be a capable leading lady, though the breakout star here is Melissa McCarthy, who hits every line out of the park.

While “Thor” got the summer started with an anticlimactic thud, “Bridesmaids” provides enough belly laughs to last audiences until September.

The film was produced by comedy giant Judd Apatow, who has been involved with films such as “40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.” With this one, he and director Paul Feig prove that it’s safe for comedy to be about women again.

This isn’t a chick flick. It’s a hilarious flick that happens to be about chicks.

 

Verdict: 4 stars (out of 5)

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