Friday, May 20, 2011

Butch Freak Goddess

Bridesmaids, the new Kristen Wiig chick-flick/raunch-comedy that came out last week, is a total pleasure to experience:  smart, heartfelt, and silly, with a sidecar of Brazilian-food diarrhea.  It has its own rhythm and pace, guided by Wiig's eerie, brilliant comedic timing.  Wiig's setpieces are like elongated SNL sketches, only better because Wiig and the filmmakers have created an atmosphere in which the creepy/zany sketch-comedy routines are braided into an overall narrative that satisfies your inner-fratboy, while also allowing you to catch the bridal bouquet.  It's Mary Richards and Rhoda climbing on board the Farelly Brothers train to Apatow Junction. 

But truly the main reason I love this movie is Melissa McCarthy's Butch Freak Goddess Megan, sister of the groom.  In the beginning of Bridesmaids, at the initial engagement party, Megan is a total throwaway cliche, one of those goofy grotesques comedic movies often trot out for cheap laughs and also to get us to "like" the main character by comparison.  She's all huff and puff and dyke-like moves, dressed in boy clothes, overexcited and a little stalker-scary.

As the movie progresses, though, Megan stops being the butt of jokes and transforms into its moral center.  McCarthy hams it up in a way that isn't hammy somehow, providing breathing room for Megan's innocence and intelligence.  One of the best images in the movie is of Megan abducting nine puppies from the bridal shower (it's a site-gag:  the party is so plush that parting gifts are gorgeous, pedigreed little doggies).  She's in her minivan, puppies all over the place, driving like mad to get home.

Megan is also the slap-in-the-face Wigg's Annie needs to get over her funk.  In this scene, we find out how accomplished and how triumphant Megan really is.  We can see her work her magic.  Only in this bell-jar of chick-flick-raunch-comedy weirdness, I'm thinking, could such a wonderfully full but still hilariously broad character be hatched.  McCarthy is blissfully unaware of her looks, and yet there's an inherent beauty pulsing out of Megan's hungry eyes. 

Of course there's the food-poisoning in a wedding-dress schtick and lots of Wiiginess, all of which is spectacular.  But at the end of the day, Megan feels like something new:  a masculine, overweight, kind of freaky lady unapologetically in charge of her life.