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“Bridesmaids”: Too Much Of Everything

Monday, October 31st, 2011 by

I had an idea and I thought it was good. I posted the following as a Facebook status:

 “Need to write 500 words on what’s wrong with Bridesmaids.”

Now I’ve been alone at parties more than a few times in my life. But what I thought would garner an entertaining array of comments reinforcing my feelings that “Bridesmaids” was overrated and overlong, especially among my own “friends” on Facebook, seemed more like a scene from “The Ox-Bow Incident.”

I did not hate “Bridesmaids.” I wanted to love it like everyone else loved it. The reason I didn’t? It felt as if every punch line was forced down my throat. Scene after potentially hilarious scene became just as unfunny; each line and sight gag was repeated two and three times, bogging the film down and leaving me exhausted from exasperation rather than guffawing. Why didn’t that bother the millions that made the movie such a success?

Clocking in at 125 minutes, “Bridesmaids” was in desperate need of some fat trimming. You could watch just about any two Marx Brothers films in the same time it takes, give or take 5 minutes, to watch “Bridesmaids.” Some would say that less is not more: more is more. But, I don’t know anyone who has ever gone to an “all you can eat” buffet and walked away not feeling just a little bit sick.

Not coincidentally, “Bridesmaids” producer Judd Apatow’s previous blockbusters “The 40-Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up,” as well as the not-so-blockbusting “Funny People,” all come in at 130 minutes, with “Funny People” hitting the 150 mark. As one friend put it, “recent comedies have been using a formula where, you take a joke and hammer it home so many times, in goes from funny to being unfunny to being funny again.” That seems acceptable for such cult faves as “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space”: films with infamous reputations for throwing it all against the wall and not caring what, if anything, stuck. Movies that were so bad, they were good.  I just can’t get on board with that practice in big Hollywood films.

Looking at AFI’s list of the 100 Greatest Comedies Of All Time, few exceed 105 minutes, and those that do, like “Mister Roberts,” “The Apartment,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Being There” and “Good Morning, Vietnam,” offer a lot more than just relying on a few banana peels, thrown pies or the current exploitation of the once private bodily functions that now seem to find a home in just about every comedy coming out of Hollywood.




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