Wednesday, 22 June 2011
For years, Saturday Night Live regular Kristen Wiig has been appearing in comedy movies as a supporting character and usually walking away with the movie (see Paul, Whip It, MacGruber for examples). Now she gets to lead a film (as well as co-write) and I can honestly say that a new comedy star has definitely arrived.
Annie is a troubled woman: a failed baker whose business foiled, she gives unhelpful advice to those coming into the jewellery shop she works, making them leave; her love life is with a man so full of himself that he doesn't like her sleeping over and she lives with a British man and his sister, who she pays the rent for. The only constant in her life is her best friend from childhood, Lillian. When Lillian announces she is engaged, she wants Annie to be the maid-of-honour. If Annie's life isn't in a mess now, it starts heading for a downward spiral given the responsibilities of arranging everything for her friend's wedding. Added to that, she has a jealousy problem with Lillian's new best friend, the wealthy Helen, that could see her making a mess of everything.
There have been a handful of comedies out recently that, frankly, just haven't even been close to the mark (Your Highness and the truly lazy The Hangover Part II being two of them). Well now we, at last, get a genuinely funny movie that will have you giggling throughout with some very big laughs scattered here and there, as well as having the biggest heart i have seen in a film in a very long time.
From the moment it starts to the hilarious mid-end-credits sequence (Don't leave immediately...you will miss a treat!) this is a joyous journey into the destruction of a woman on the edge. That might sound bad but trust me, Kristen Wiig has created such a likeable character in Annie that you feel for her, every step of the way. With her often understated asides, she is a diamond in the rough. In fact every character in this film is so brilliantly drawn-out that it makes the 2 hours fly by.
Rose Byrne is deliciously cute as the friend who takes over everything, while Maya Rudolph is perfect as Lillian. The star of the group of ladies friends is Melissa McCarthy, who almost steals every scene she is in as the gross-out, Fight Club obsessed Megan. She manages to make Zack Galifiankis's Alan from The Hangover, look like a a paper-thin caricature.
The IT Crowd's Chris O'Dowd is great as the cop that has more than a crush on Annie, and you want them to get together so much you feel like getting Annie's head and slapping her then going for John Hamm's egotistic lover (a terrific cameo from him). Matt Lucas also pops up as the flatmate. It also has the last performance from the late Jill Clayburgh as Annie's mother, a nice tribute for a really great actress.
To say I really loved this film is an understatement. I haven't laughed so loud at a movie in what seems such a long time (the dress fitting scene is both incredibly gross and painfully funny to watch). It might seem and feel like a "chick flick" but this has so much to offer it, you forget and just laugh along with the antics. The perfect date movie? Absolutely. It's sweet. It's funny. It's sickly (but in a very good way) and any film that has Wilson Phillips singing Hold On at the end is going to send you out with a big fat grin from ear to ear. Miss this and you are missing the sleeper comedy of the year. Superb.