The Under-Ranked: Bridesmaids
The summer season has long been known for epic, big-budget films and broad animated comedies. But over the last few years, summer has become known for something else: The Judd Apatow Produced Comedy. Apatow has become a comedy commodity the likes that summer has never seen before. From the Will Ferrell comedies Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, to his own comedy crew that has brought us Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and last summer’s spin-off Get Him to the Greek, Apatow has been the king of summer comedies in recent memory. But Apatow has been known for producing comedies that mostly focus on the male mentality, but this weekend he changes that with the release of Bridesmaids. Directed by Paul Feig who has written for some of the past decades best TV shows, such as “Freaks and Geeks”, “Arrested Development”, “Mad Men” and “The Office”, and written by Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids seems like it should be the formula for the summer’s first comedy hit. But before checking Bridesmaids out, check out some of these under-ranked films from the stars of Bridesmaids.
Even though Kristen Wiig has been one of the most affluent cast members of “Saturday Night Live” for the past few seasons, she surprisingly has never headlined her own film until Bridesmaids. However last summer, she co-starred with another “SNL” alum Will Forte in MacGruber, a comedy that got lost in the shadow of larger films last summer and never found the audience it deserved. An over-the-top parody of “MacGyver”, Forte plays the title character, who must take out his nemesis, played by Val Kilmer. With the help of his old partner Vicki St. Elmo, played by Wiig, and his new assistant Lt. Dixon Piper, portrayed by Ryan Phillippe, he attempts to save Washington D.C. from a nuclear attack. The film is a well-crafted parody of 80s television and movies and Forte’s obscure humor works great to show the absurdity of his character. While Phillippe and Kilmer might seem odd in a comedy like this, their ability to play their parts straight while even the most ridiculous things are happening, (MacGruber’s idea of a “diversion” is running around naked with a strategically placed piece of celery. I’ll leave it that) makes their parts just as funny as Forte and Wiig. MacGruber is a hilarious farce that was unfortunately released at the wrong time, but will hopefully get a greater appreciation through home viewings.
Rose Byrne has started to lean towards the comedy side of acting, first with last year’s Get Him to the Greek and now as co-bridesmaid Helen. But in 2009, she played a remarkably sweet and difficult role in Adam, about a woman who starts a relationship with her neighbor who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Hugh Dancy plays Adam, whose father has recently died and has very few relationships outside his family and his family friends. When Byrne’s Beth meets Adam, it is awkward at first, but this man she knows little about intrigues her. Over time, the two form a friendship, which becomes a romance. The two have to deal not only with the issues that every relationship has to, but also has the additional weight of Adam’s Asperger’s, which causes its own set of problems. Byrne and Dancy have a difficult line to walk with their roles. Dancy has to be difficult, yet loveable while Byrne must be tough, yet also open to the possibilities that Adam can give her in love. Byrne and Dancy take a story that could be too easy to mess up and propel it into something sweet with their refined performances.
Chris O’Dowd has become popular in England with several TV shows, including “The IT Crowd” and is growing a following in America in such comedies as Pirate Radio, Dinner for Schmucks and Gulliver’s Travels. But his best film role is in the great British comedy Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel. O’Dowd and his two friends, played by Marc Wootton and Dean Lennox Kelly go their favorite pub, but this night, they accidentally find a time paradox in the bathroom, which allows them to travel through time. With some basic help given to them by time traveler Cassie, played by Anna Faris, they try to navigate themselves back to their own time and back to their favorite pub. Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel plays like a combination of Back to the Future and Shaun of the Dead, and fans of either one of those films, or just great sci-fi comedies, should try to seek this one out.