SXSW: 'Welcome to Kristen Wiig Appreciation Night!'

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Image Credit: Suzanne Hanover

So declared director Paul Feig before a midnight screening of Bridesmaids at Austin’s SXSW Film Festival. The lanky SNL actress did a cute little curtsy up on stage, where she’d earlier endeared herself to the sold-out crowd before the U.S. premiere of the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost geek alien comedy, Paul. Wiig plays a one-eyed Christian who teams up with Pegg and Frost’s comic book-loving nerds to save an alien from government clutches. The Greg Mottola-directed Paul played enormously well in front of the Austin crowd. “We were at North by Northeast last week and it was sh–,” joked Frost, who upped his appeal with locals by wearing a Texas Longhorns jersey.

Next on the docket was an advance screening of the Kristen Wiig-penned comedy Bridesmaids, which I feared might be a by-the-numbers female spin on The Hangover. But the movie felt fresh and funny, with the right blend of sweet and wicked. Wiig plays a delightful mess of a maid of honor, and I don’t mean the kind of mess we’re used to seeing women play. She doesn’t trip in front of the cute guy or drag toilet paper out of the bathroom on her heel or agonize over why she’s always a bridesmaid and never the bride. She sleeps around (with Jon Hamm, in a deliciously obnoxious turn) and gets kicked off planes and lives with her Mom.

What makes this film such a treat is that it isn’t the story of a woman who wants to get the guy in the end. Wiig’s Annie really just wants her best friend (played by the always divine Maya Rudolph) back. The girls are the stars here, to the point where I don’t think Rudolph’s fiance utters a single word throughout the entire movie. Extra special love for Melissa McCarthy, who inexplicably elevates her hulking beefcake of a bridesmaid out of caricature zone. And a shout-out to the brilliant poop-your-pants scene, which made me laugh even harder than the ones from Two Weeks Notice and Sex & the City. And that’s saying something.

Paul opens in theaters on March 18.

Bridesmaids opens on May 13. (Incidentally, the movie is better than this trailer.)


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  • Nate

    I’ve seen Bridesmaids as well. While I agree on some of your points, that poop-your-pants scene was 100% atrocious and purely painful to sit through. But Melissa McCarthy is the MVP of that movie, that I agree.

    • Lynn

      Wow. You just read mind on both points. I was coming here to post almost that exact thing about the poop scene (I don’t think I ever find poop jokes funny) and Melissa McCarthy, who was in my opinion the breakout of the movie amongst some pretty funny women. I really enjoyed it though. It was a smidgen too long but I’ll never get tired of seeing a bunch of women being funny in lead character roles.

      • pie thrower

        Girls poop?

  • LOL

    It’s a Wiig world. We just live in it.

  • Uncle Joe

    Thank you for posting this. The trailer for the film is so awful, but I knew in my heart that with Feig behind the camera and this incredible ensemble it would have to be golden.

  • Stacie

    Excited to see both movies. Bridemaids is a bit more appealing to me since I am currently in Seth Rogen overload. He’s not in it right?

  • TorontoTom

    Can’t stand her on SNL – now, you want me to PAY to see her?!? KRISTEN WIIG IS NOT FUNNY.

    • Chaz Winterbottom

      Yeah but your tuque is. Now take off!!!

    • AltDave

      Ah, one of the many trolls who thinks Wiig is unfunny because of SNL. There is a difference between characters, and the actor who portrays those characters. Many of Wiig’s characters on SNL are unfunny and/or overplayed; Wiig herself is extremely talented and funny. Understand the difference?

      • Monty

        No, many of her characters are terrible, and of those terrible characters she created most of them, not the writers.

      • TorontoTom

        I stand by my original statement – KRISTEN WIIG IS NOT FUNNY! (And I don’t wear a tuque – but if I did, even it’d be funnier than that one-note, over-the-top ditz)

      • Dominic

        Yes, KW is not at all funny! In fact…she is hilarious!!!! See what I did there? I pretended to agree with you and then – bam! Can’t wait to see this movie – and I like the trailer so if it’s even better…

    • Mons

      100% agreed. It’s sickening and sad that she plays the same character over and over. Just because it was funny in your improv acting class doesn’t mean that it’s great comedy.

    • Steve Rogers

      Kristen Wiig is amazing and she’s become too big for SNL. She’s an actor, not just a comic, which is why she has a few bigger movies than these in the pipeline.

  • Doogie

    Kristen Wiig?! Blah Blah Blah! Not Funny! Blah Blah Blah! Lorne should fire her! Blah Blah Blah! My dog could do a better job than her! Blah Blah Blah! (insert cliche that’s more tired than Gilly here)!

    • claudenorth

      You forgot, “Kristen Wiig?! EPIC FAIL!”

    • Woot

      Ah so your dog has 2 emmy nominations then?

  • joe

    Why do girls think that in order to be funny as guys, they need to be just as vulgar?

  • Kay

    Glad to hear this movie is better than the trailer makes it look. The cast is solid–I’m really curious to see Rose Byrne in a comic role. And I’ve loved Melissa M. since her Gilmore Girls days, so I have no doubt she’ll be awesome.

    • Dave

      Check out Rose Byrne in Get Him to the Greek. She’s great in it!

      • graeme

        Yeah, Rose Byrne was freakin hilarious in Get Him To The Greek. I couldn’t believe that was Ellen Parsons! haha.

  • David D

    I look at the SNL message boards here every week, and every week it’s the same trashing of Kristen Wiig. But here’s something worth noting — NO WOMAN in the entire 36-year history of SNL has EVER had a successful film career like Wiig has. Tina Fey is on her way, but Wiig has the bigger and deeper resume. She’s chosen her roles very carefully and nailed them — her scenes in “Knocked Up” were devastatingly funny — and her work in “Adventureland” and “Whip It” was subtle and beautifully crafted. Hate her all you want, but with the exception of Catherine O’Hara from “SCTV,” Kristen Wiig stands alone as a TV sketch-comedy actress who’s succeeded on the big screen in a variety of roles.

    • joe

      Wiig does not have a successful film career.

      • Will

        Wiig does have a successful film career, and another note, she has more recurring characters than any other cast member on the show, which is a pretty strong feat.

  • Callie

    I really admire Kristen. I want to be in comedy and I really respect her ability to not care about what people think of her and go all out to make whatever character the best the it can be. Some of them might not be great but, I think she does a great job with what characters she’s got. Also, I think that its great that she is branching out of SNL because many SNL cast members haven’t gone anywhere since there job at SNL. and also starting a writing career for film which is even making her more respected. I’ve only seen the trailer for Bridesmaids and I think it looks pretty good for her first time writing something.

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