Friday, June 3, 2011
Relativity Media/Universal Pictures
Directed by Paul Feig
Produced by Judd Apatow
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, and Jon Hamm
Running Time: 125 minutes
MIKE-O- METER: AND HILARITY ENSUES!!!! Absolute Perfect Fun!
Walking down the aisle on the silver screen can often be described as formulaic, trite, generic, or like yet another Mandy Moore film- sugary, sweet dribble. (Yes, I went there and shhh..don't tell anyone! Whispers-"I'm secretly a fan"). Watching a chick flick can also be another formulaic, trite, generic, fluffy, or again, like viewing a "Mandy Moore film". (Well, I'm officially kicked out of the fan club now!) Thankfully, director Paul Feig's (most notably directed several episodes of The Office as well as Arrested Development) BRIDESMAIDS is neither a complete chick flick or typically clichéd wedding movie. BRIDESMAIDS is best described as "the female Hangover", but I say it's something new, something borrowed (Wedding Crashers meets The Sweetest Thing meets The Hangover), and something lavender (come on, BRIDESMAIDS dresses). BRIDESMAIDS is also the perfect star vehicle for Kristen Wiig (MacGruber and a member of the current Saturday Night Live alumni) to shine as a comedic actress proving she has star quality flare. It can also be noted that Kristen Wiig brought her best comedic chops as she also helped pen the script alongside friend and voice over actress Annie Mumolo (Disney's Handy Mandy) .
In BRIDESMAIDS, Kristen stars as Annie whose best friend Lillian (played by the fantastic real life friend of Kristen Wiig and once SNL member, Maya Rudolph) asks her to be her Maid of Honor. Annie uncomfortably accepts the title as her life is currently in the gutter with her dream bakery business now closed, her romantic life is in the crapper(check out the hilarious opening scene with the dashing Jon Hamm of AMC's Mad Men), her current roommate situation is chaos, and her job is less than satisfying. Enter Lillian's bridal party! The other bridesmaids include a female comic lineup made out of celluloid heaven with Rose Byrne (FX Damages) as the snobby and jealously rich Helen, The Office's Ellie Kemper as the shy, reserved Becca, RENO 911's Wendi McLendon-Covey as trashy housewife Rita and finally, the woman who steals the show... Meliisa McCarthy (CBS's chubby hit Mike and Molly) as Megan. Trust me, there are no words to describe her! Annie must make friends with other the girls as she dabbles in the bridal routines of Lillian's wedding, battles Helen who desperately wants to be Maid of Honor, flirts with a dreamy police officer, and plans the perfect bridal shower, all while maintaining (or hilariously losing) her dignity. I know what you are thinking, BRIDESMAIDS does not sound any different from any other wedding film. I'm keeping it as simple as possible to not spoil the best punchlines but trust me, this film is anything but sugary sweet. Look for the dress fitting scene, the airplane sequence, and Lillian's engagement party to put a little raunchy laugh in your throat. Also, stay for the credits as there is a surprise scene that will make you never want to look at your Subway sandwich the same. Great, now I've spoiled the joke!
BRIDESMAIDS delivers on laughs (just as funny as The Hangover) and is already the early surprise hit of Summer 2011. Word of mouth is carrying the modestly budgeted picture (produced for $32 million) far greater than Relatively Media/Universal Pictures had hoped for in terms of a female driven R rated comedy. It doesn't hurt that BRIDESMAIDS is a Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, 40 Year Old Virgin) production and audiences are more than familiar with his brand of humor. I was knocked off of my socks by Melissa McCarthy. She is one to watch out for in the future (she's a female Kevin James) as well as Kristen Wiig who has certainly proved she is no second rate Tina Fey. I was a little hesitant because I was not sure is Kristen could carry the movie but during her character's conversation with Lillian in the beginning of the film, I was certain she had the right chemistry to pull of this sort of comedy. This is certainly not a chick flick and ladies feel free to bring your guy as there is plenty for everyone to enjoy. He will certainly enjoy this more than Adam Sandler's latest disaster. And there's good news for Kristen Wigg fans as "Best remembered as SNL's Gilly" will no longer be the permanent print on her tombstone.
MOST MEMORABLE LINE: (Too many to list so I'll leave you with this) Annie's Mom "I'm sure she meets him in the evening, beaver first." (played by the late great Academy Award nominated actress Jill Clayburgh, who lost her battle with lukemia shortly after production wrapped.)
I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to go see a "Fun Comedy" with a talented cast and are willing to risk soda spewing out their nose in an outburst of laughter. It may or may not have happened to me, just saying.
Warning: Do not label this film as "The Funniest Movie Ever" when suggesting to others as that title is often hard to live up to. Just say "Surprisingly fun!"
In honor of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides smashing worldwide records in just 2 weeks (currently at #43) with over 700 million, I bring you comic rap trio The Lonely Island (SNL's Andy Samburg) featuring Michael Bolton with Captain Jack Sparrow. Trust me, It's hilarious and pays homage to other movies as well. Enjoy!
CLICK LINK BELOW TO START QUIZ. GOOD LUCK!!!
MIke's Super Stumper Summer Blockbuster Movie Quiz
Thursday, June 2, 2011
"Welcome to Mutant High....."
It has been 11 years since X-MEN unleashed its muscle on the silver screen and fans of the massive series have been taken on a bumpy ride as its sequels have either hit the mark or mutated into a jumbled mess. The first X-MEN debuted with a stellar 157.3 million (splendid storytelling in terms of introduction, a fun, high profile cast, and dazzling special effects) which lead to the equally impressive X-MEN UNITED (214.9 million). Then came, the cluttered X-MEN : THE LAST STAND (234.4 million)and the mediocre WOLVERINE, which came shy of a $180 million. Although those tallies sound impressive, THE LAST STAND cost $210 million to produce and domestically was a disappointment. Although it made $459 million worldwide, it barely made back its production and advertising costs. (A film has to double but often triple (include advertising) its production cost to be considered a financial success to the studio. Of course, box office isn't everything. Critically and commercially, the first two films were adored but the latter two had too much going on or in the case of WOLVERINE, alienated its fan-base.
So naturally, the only way to revive the franchise was to give the series a reboot. Reboots generally tend to work as Batman, Star Trek, and in terms of financially, Friday the 13th have demonstrated. Reboots give a studio a new, fresh way to tell a familiar story with beloved characters that connects with audiences as well as hopefully "cashes in" with new fans. Reboots differ from remakes as often, with the exception of Friday the 13th, they tend to be prequels, showing the origins of our cherished characters and breathe new life into a franchise. I have to admit, the first three X-MEN (even THE LAST STAND had its moments) tickled my "Fanboy" bones but Wolverine made me want to throw all my old Marvel comics at Hugh Jackman. I just felt Wolverine left little to be desired as far as a summer blockbusters go and I hated the way they depicted DeadPool, Ryan Reynolds .
That being said, 20th Century Fox's X-MEN FIRST CLASS (directed by Matthew Vaughn who brought us the masterful KICKASS and underrated yet highly recommended STARDUST)looks to be a step in the right direction. FIRST CLASS is set in 1960s and tells the beginnings of Professor Xavier (played by Jemes McAvoy WANTED) and Magneto (played by Hollywood's new "IT" man Michael Fassbender, most notably seen in Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Bastards). Look for Louisville's own Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) as a young Mystique and Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, who has the ability to absorb energy. Many of the mutants, audiences will not be able to recognize (with the exception of Beast)and this could be both a pro and con for the film. Most people attribute X-Men with Wolverine (although Hugh Jackman is rumored to make a cameo)but on the other hand, fresh blood and new mutants might be just the ticket fans are craving for. Only the box office will tell!
Reviews have been fantastic (like IRON MAN stellar), the trailers look amazing, and I have to say I am X-Cited to see this! Predictions for the film range from the 50's to 80 million. I predict a 50 to 56 million (probably 54 million) start for the prequel (naturally, it will knock the Hangover 2 from the top spot) and word of mouth will continue to generate buzz. After all, WOLVERINE and THE LAST STAND disappointed and FIRST CLASS has to prove it has what it takes to make the grade. I will keep you posted on the final tally over the weekend.
Watch the trailer below and stay tuned for my review of Hangover 2 and X-MEN: FIRST CLASS