Featuring Melissa McCarthy, as Life Itself

I rang in my 34th birthday watching Bridesmaids with my best friend, and I really can’t think of a better form of celebration. It is a very crude movie (it opens with a graphic bad-sex scene, which is cringingly, eyes-coveringly funny and painful), hilarious and poignant, with a real generosity of spirit. None of the women are pure cartoons meant only to be laughed at. Everybody is needy and trying, in often self-defeating ways, to reach out. Both friendship and marriage, and the fears, loneliness, and jealousies which accompany them, are taken totally seriously. This movie swerved easily around a whole host of potential land mines, from misogyny to tendentious sex-rev boosterism. It’s a recovery movie in many ways, and it earns that recovery rather than handwaving it.

And it was so stupidly funny, you guys. Ratty and I spent the next couple days quoting it at each other: “Physically, I don’t bloat.” “I’ve seen better tennis in tampon commercials!” The tween who wants a Best Friends Forever necklace… the
Celia, Celia, Celia…” set-piece disaster… the AA mom who’s neither alcoholic nor anonymous… This is a smart, sharply-observed movie with a heart. And also a distressed digestive tract.

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