Contender: ‘Bridesmaids’

The Contenders 2011

Much like Kristen Wiig’s protagonist in Paul Feig’s blockbuster, the odds on “Bridesmaids” making it to the stage on the big night seem kinda iffy. For one, it’s a comedy, and in particular, it’s the type of comedy that requires otherwise classy actresses to vomit on one another’s hair when they’re not suffering from explosive diarrhea.

A product of the lucrative yet largely unlaureled Judd Apatow comedy factory, “Bridesmaids” comes bearing few of the gifts on the Academy’s usual registry. But odds were made to be beaten, and this $286 million-grossing pic made too big a cultural impression to be overlooked.

Scene-stealer Melissa McCarthy, riding a wave of goodwill after her Emmy win, should bring some punch to the supporting actress race; yet the film’s greatest achievement may be Wiig’s character Annie, which she created with co-writer Annie Mumolo. Not content to merely put a womanly spin on the typical Apatovian schlub, Wiig and Mumolo have crafted a prickly, vulnerable anti-heroine of deceptively complex layers.

And while allowing a romantic comedy to stretch beyond two hours may seem the result of too little cutting, editors William Kerr and Mike Sail deftly manage not only to hone the jokes to snappy perfection but also to steer the film through some serious dramatic territory without losing its breezy pace.

Release date: May 13
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