Star rating – 8/10
It’s fair to say that I’m not usually a romcom sort of person, but this is not your average romcom at all, in fact it is one of the funniest films I have seen for a good while. And with it a star is born, at least in Britain, for American audiences of Saturday Night Live have know just how hilarious its star Kristen Wiig is for some time now.
Wiig, who also co-wrote the film, plays likeable but down on her luck Annie. She had a cake shop called Cake Baby, and ran it with her boyfriend, until it went bust and she lost both the business and the guy. Now she has little better to do than tell couples looking for engagement rings in the down market jewellery store that she works in, how their love bubble will inevitably burst, which is obviously not great for custom.
Her best friend Lillian is getting married, and she wants Annie to be her maid of honour. Annie is prepared to put her cynicism about romance to one side and make all the necessary joyous preparations that the role requires, that is until she meets to horrendous Helen. Helen is married to Lillian’s fiancé’s boss. She is glamorous, rich, beautiful, and totally on a mission to take over the whole thing and to become Lillian’s new best friend.
Annie gets increasingly cheesed off with being edged out by Helen, and starts to unwittingly sabotage the whole affair. Annie’s drunken behaviour on the plane to Las Vegas for the Bachelorette Party is particularly hilarious. Her personal life is also in ruins. She has a horrible fuck buddy, played by Jon Hamm from Mad Men, who makes her feel downright miserable and more worthless with each passing encounter. She runs into a cop, played by Chris O’Dowd, who takes pity on her and lets her off with a warning for faulty brake lights. But she is too messed up to know a good thing when she sees it, or in this case him.
There are some tacky moments, such as when they all get food poisoning whilst trying on dresses in a very upmarket wedding shop, and end up ‘doing a Paula Radcliffe’ in the street. But overall this is a smart and very funny film that is much more than a cut above the usual dirge churned out it the romcom genre. And Kristen Wiig is simply wonderful as Annie, whether sticking to her principles, falling apart or getting herself back together again.