The movie is unquestionably from a female perspective, a quality that is pervasive but never exclusive. Wiig plays Annie, a heart-ravaged, recession-broken middle-ager struggling to maintain an emotional parallel with her best friend whose life is on the up-and-up. The chief area of contention is the latter’s upcoming nuptial for which Annie is the maid of honor, a role that places her in direct competition with the younger, prettier, wealthier friend from the groom’s side.
Wiig achieves a splendid vulnerability as Annie. Her tender facial expressions, her reticent mannerisms — they make us laugh, but they also reveal a woman who is desperate not to become desperate. Annie struggles to compose herself as her derelict car fails in the hands of a snooty club’s valet. She rues the graffiti-littered sign of her failed bakery. These moments sound sad, but they are also quite funny. Wiig’s performance is as heartening as it is hilarious.
Some moments do miss the mark, but for the most part, the movie maintains its integrity. Even the minor characters, while simply filler, are genuine: real faces with real bodies and real problems. This authenticity is so pronounced that the sheen of luxury appears ugly, and the customary realization of inner strength at the film’s end has credibility.
Reviewed in this week’s listings: The Bang Bang Club, Insidious, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen, and POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.