'Bridesmaids' & The Secret Women Hate To Admit

Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph in Bridesmaids.

Nothing changes a friendship like a wedding. Well, besides infidelity and babies.

If I hear one more person describe Bridesmaids as "the female version of The Hangover," I'm going to Kristen Wiig out.

Why do we have to label a movie that's hilarious in its own right as the female version of something else? Well, actually I know why. Because a lot of comedies starring women aren't exactly thought of as "funny." And a lot of wedding-related movies are cheesier than they are clever and witty.

Bridesmaids is a long overdue exception. Despite its title and premise, it's not centered around a wedding ceremony. We don't even really meet the groom. The movie is about two best friends growing in different directions. Annie (Kristen Wiig) is stuck in a dead-end job after the bakery she has opened goes out of business, and the boyfriend who helped her run it splits from her. Her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) has always been her cheerleader and confidante. But their relationship changes when Lillian gets engaged and asks Annie to be the maid of honor.

Annie already has mixed feelings about Lillian's big news. But when she goes to the engagement party and meets the rest of the bridesmaids, things get even worse. Most of the other women in the bridal party are married. Helen (Rose Byrne) is one of Lillian's newer friends, and quickly takes control of the event. She's the complete opposite of Annie—wealthy, connected and poised. Annie's out of her element and makes a fool of herself.  Are You The “Single Friend”?

Bridesmaids subverts stereotypes about female comedy, as well as about women in general. Annie and Helen's rivalry is full of passive-aggressive tension, but they also get plain old aggressive in a bloodthirsty tennis match. The sex talk runs the gamut from silly to raunchy to painfully candid. The bridal party goes to a fitting with the disastrous combination of food poisoning, one bathroom and thousands of dollars in silk and tulle. Who says gross-out humor and pretty dresses don't mix?

As the wedding planning continues, Annie gets more and more beleaguered. Her boring job and creepy roommates are getting her down. Helen's trying to usurp her role in Lillian's wedding—and life. A local cop (Chris O'Dowd, the cuter version of Seth Rogen) pulls her over to write a ticket she can't afford. How can she feel good about her best friend's big day when her own life is in such a shambles? 'Bridesmaids' Stars Offer Advice To Real-Life Bridesmaids

And that's what makes the movie so relatable: We all want to see our friends happy, but no one wants to feel like the loser being left behind. Marriage changes everything—for the bride, the groom and everyone who has a close relationship with them. Living vicariously and waiting for your turn to be acknowledged—whether for finding the love of your life or otherwise—can suck. Hard.

On the surface, Bridesmaids is about all the drama and emotions weddings cause before anyone even walks down the aisle. But it could apply to any big life event. (And I'd love to see a sequel where one friend has kids, and the other doesn't.) It's about how friendships evolve and sometimes decline, and how in life, we never end up quite where we thought we would be.

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