There’s nothing funnier than watching a bunch of girls in ugly dresses sabotage each other. Except, that’s not what “Bridesmaids” is about.

Bridesmaids

At Quality 16 and Rave
Universal Pictures

Annie’s (Kristen Wiig, “Saturday Night Live”) life is falling apart. Her bakery, originally called Cake Baby, went out of business. The sign above the door now reads “Cock Baby.” She lives with an incredibly odd pair of British twins. Her slam piece (Jon Hamm, “The Town”) is really kind of an asshole, despite his dashing good looks. Then, her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph, “Away We Go”) asks her to be maid of honor at her upcoming wedding. The job turns out to be much more than Annie bargained for and threatens to push her life even further downhill.

The cast has tremendous comedic potential and it’s hard not to wonder if it has been used correctly. For the most part, the characters just seem to fill stereotypes. There’s the innocent newlywed (Ellie Kemper, TV’s “The Office”) as well as the desperate housewife (Wendi McLendon-Covey, TV’s “Reno 911”). At times, it’s difficult to even write them off as stereotypes because they literally just stand in the background. Of course, comedies do tend to use stock characters like these but at least the characters are given reign to fulfill their storyline. In “Bridesmaids,” these actresses aren’t even given that opportunity. The one character who does develop a little bit, Megan (Melissa McCarthy, TV’s “Gilmore Girls”), seems to be some kind of a riff off Zach Galifianakis’s character from “The Hangover.” And it’s really disturbing. Let’s just say there’s some role-playing with food and leave it at that.

Of course, there are lots of disturbing things. At one point, the girls are trying on dresses and they all come down with food poisoning. There’s vomit flying everywhere and Rudolph runs outside in a wedding dress and takes a dump in the middle of the street. It’s hard to say if it’s genuinely funny or just plain weird. Judd Apatow produced “Bridesmaids” and guys do stuff like that in his movies all the time — the only difference is that these comedians are women. Whether or not any kind of disgust is the result of bad taste or some kind of societal gender inequality remains to be seen.

That’s not to say that everything in the movie is reduced to various versions of a fart joke. There are actually some genuinely funny parts. Wiig really shines through at points, including an airplane scene where her maneuvers to sneak into the first-class cabin after downing some pills and a scotch are actually quite funny. At other points, though, she overdoes it and her antics can become a little monotonous.

However, at no point does the movie regress into some kind of easy-breezy chick flick. OK, it is a chick flick. But it’s a new kind of chick flick that doesn’t rely on a love story alone. Sadly, what it does rely on is a subversion the talents of some honestly funny women in order to pull of a cheap laugh.

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