Review: Bridesmaids (15)

Film Still Handout from Bridesmaids. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Universal Pictures UK. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Film Still Handout from Bridesmaids. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Universal Pictures UK. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

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AFTER months if not years of meticulous planning and agonising decisions about the tiniest details, it’s ironic that abiding memories of a wedding can often be completely out of the control of the bride and groom.

The dress might be stunning, the cake heavenly and the reception organised with military precision, but the big day can easily become a big disaster thanks to bad weather, unexpected ill health or the rapidly deteriorating sobriety of the best man.

In 2009, cinema audiences shared in the pain of one groom-to-be as he overcame an almighty Hangover to make it to the church on time.

Now, we’re witnesses to the devastation wrought by a blushing bride, her maid of honour and four bridesmaids in Paul Feig’s raucous comedy of errors, which proves that anything the guys can do, the gals can do better.

Bridesmaids is smarter, funnier and emotionally deeper than The Hangover, introducing us to a menagerie of neurotic, self-obsessed yet ultimately loveable ladies, who are one extra spicy Mexican meal away from catastrophe.

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo’s script is an embarrassment of hysterical riches, anchored by winning performances from a talented ensemble cast, who throw vanity to the wind and humiliate themselves for our delight. It’s hard to imagine a more uproarious and satisfying comedy all summer, perhaps all year.

Annie (Wiig) used to own her own bakery, but she has fallen on hard times and now works as a jewellery saleswoman.

She assuages the pain with occasional no-strings-attached sex with handsome oaf Ted (Jon Hamm), who clearly has no intention of settling down.

Best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) reveals she is getting married and asks a clearly delighted Annie to be maid of honour.

Without two dimes to rub together, organising a bridal shower to remember will be tricky for Annie, especially since one of the bridesmaids is socialite wife Helen (Rose Byrne), who splashes cash as if it is going out of fashion.

Fellow bridesmaids Megan (Melissa McCarthy), Becca (Ellie Kemper) and Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey) witness the fallout as Annie and Helen vie for Lillian’s affections.

Meanwhile, Annie unexpectedly kindles a tender romance with police officer Nathan Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd), who despairs at her antics and correctly surmises, “You’re like the Maid Of Dishonour!”

Bridesmaids is two hours of pure, unadulterated, filthy-minded joy that will have you crying with laughter as it gently tugs our heartstrings.

Wiig is adorable as the architect of her own downfall and on-screen camaraderie between the actresses is completely believable.

McCarthy steals every frame as the voluptuous singleton with dubious dress sense, who stares hungrily at one single guy and snarls, “I’m going to climb that like a tree” then wrecks her ladylike image with a sudden outburst of gas.

Wiig’s romance with O’Dowd is delightful and Hamm mercilessly lampoons his suave Mad Men image.

The running time flies by too quickly, culminating in a feel good finale that transports us back to the dizzy heights of 1990s pop chart nirvana.