Comedy ties with 'Hunger Games' for most nominations, with eight.
By Kevin P. Sullivan
The story of "Bridesmaids" was that of a surprise success that really was anything but surprising.
Based on a hilarious script by star Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo (you know her as the flick's freaked-out airplane passenger), the comedy had a strong showing at South by Southwest and Judd Apatow's producer credit to slap on every poster. A modest hit seemed all but guaranteed, but what it became was a pop-culture phenomenon.
Can women be funny? It was the dumb question that every 24-hour media outlet wanted to ask when "Bridesmaids" premiered, but all anyone had to do for an answer was sit down and watch the movie. Yes, women are funny, and there are few clearer examples than "Bridesmaids."
The movie tells the story of Annie Walker (Wiig), a failed baker who suffers a complete and hilarious breakdown when her best friend Lillian, played by fellow "SNL" alum Maya Rudolph, asks her to be the maid of honor at her wedding.
Wiig stood out as the writer and the fearless leader of a cast that included Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, "The Office" actress Ellie Kemper and scene-stealer Melissa McCarthy. Together, they formed a band of sisters, ready to push the boundaries and do just about anything for a laugh.
So many scenes come to mind: the wedding dress boutique, Wiig's drugged-out and short-lived airplane ride, one of the least-sexy sex scenes you can imagine (co-starring Jon Hamm), Wilson Phillips. It all added up to sore sides and tears of laughter.
"Bridesmaids" might never have reached the top spot at the box office, but helped by strong reviews and even stronger word-of-mouth, it went on to gross $288 million worldwide and finish with the 14th-highest domestic total of the year.
As Apatow's biggest hit yet, the financials for the film secured its status as a bona fide hit, but it wasn't until January of this year that the big picture came into view: "Bridesmaids" scored two Oscar nominations, an impressive achievement for the typically drama-minded Academy. The awards show honored both the screenplay and McCarthy's breakout performance.
With the 2012 MTV Movie Awards ahead, "Bridesmaids" will face new challenges. Competing against the likes of "The Hunger Games," "Harry Potter" and "Twilight," "Bridesmaids" is a comedy in a field full of dramas, but that didn't stop it from racking up eight nods, tying with "Hunger Games" for the most nominations. "Bridesmaids" is up for the top prizes — Movie of the Year and Best Cast — and individual nominations for Wiig for Female Performance and McCarthy for Breakthrough. The two actresses will also compete against each other for Best Comedic Performance.
Originally heralded as a film that shows off the power of women in comedy, "Bridesmaids" refused to be pinned down and instead displayed the new possibilities of comedy as a whole.
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