x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Bridesmaids: here come the girls

After a two-month wait, the hit comedy Bridesmaids finally reaches UAE screens today. We find the delay has done nothing but raise expectations.

From left, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rose Byrne, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph and Ellie Kemper hit UAE screens today in the smash hit comedy Bridesmaids.
From left, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rose Byrne, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph and Ellie Kemper hit UAE screens today in the smash hit comedy Bridesmaids.

After a two-month wait, the hit comedy Bridesmaids finally hits UAE screens today. Alex Ritman finds the delay has done nothing but increase expectations

It's finally here. What has been described as "the best female-driven, R-rated comedy of all time", "a rejoinder to sugary rom-coms" and "a superior, female version of The Hangover" will very soon be ditching the unofficial tagline of "that film everyone outside the UAE has seen".

After a wait of more than two months since the international launch, Bridesmaids, the unexpected smash hit of the summer, is today launching across national cinema screens.

Produced by Judd Apatow, the current US comedy general and a man who can seemingly do no wrong (with perhaps the exception of Walk Hard and Step Brothers), Bridesmaids has come shrieking, burping and wiggling its pink dress out of almost nowhere to becoming Universal's biggest rom-com yet and Apatow's most successful film to date.

And with US takings easily surpassing the $152.6 million (Dh560.5m) brought in by the first Sex and the City, Bridesmaids is now the biggest R-rated female comedy ever.

Replacing Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw at the top of the tree is Kristen Wiig's Annie, a woman who doesn't so much have a successful newspaper column, a shoe collection that would make Imelda Marcos cry and Mr Big's wallet, but rather a failed bakery, $40,000 worth of debt and an extremely weird flatmate (played by Matt Lucas).

As maid of honour for her best friend, Annie has to put personal issues to one side to organise bridal showers and bachelorette parties for the bride and her four rowdy 'maids. Predictably, however, things don't go exactly to plan, and with much zany behaviour, excessive toilet humour and some rather unladylike flatulence, it's easy to see where the comparisons with The Hangover films begin.

But is two months simply too long a wait to keep the audience in suspense? Will anyone who wanted to watch Bridesmaids have found another way to do so, perhaps even by taking the drastic step of going abroad or heading to the murky depths of the web? Simon El-Khoury of Gulf Film (the regional distributors) doesn't think so.

"We haven't seen any of these problems before," he says. "The people who want to watch it are still going to watch it. They're not going to try to download it or anything."

The two-month delay, it turns out, wasn't a decision made to tease UAE fans, but a date set by Universal Pictures long before Bridesmaids was released. "It's been due to come out here on July 21 since the start of the year," says El-Khoury.

Although the wait might have annoyed some, it could actually do wonders for the local box office. When Bridesmaids first launched, few expected it to achieve the levels of success it has done and it was yet to start making headlines. But now, however, it lands in the UAE with two months' worth of international hype and outstanding reviews, something that could encourage thousands to flock to the cinemas this weekend.

"Nobody had heard much about the movie at first," says Abbas Jaffar Ali, of the Abu Dhabi-based film website ME Movies. "But now a lot more people know about it. Two months' wait probably helps it."

Lindsay Johnston, a PR director living in Dubai, is one of the many who have been waiting anxiously for Bridesmaids to arrive. She is especially looking forward to it, considering she has served as a bridesmaid twice herself.

"The delay is really annoying because everyone has been going on and on about something that we don't know about," she says, wondering if the hype will be justified.

"I don't like when people hype movies up too much and then your expectations are high," she said, adding she is not too worried in this case because of the number of reports that it is very funny.

"So many friends have said that I'm going to love it," she said.

Beyond living up to expectations, another concern is just how much of the film will make it past the censors. Apatow isn't a comedian to shy away from excessive use of vulgarities (just watch Superbad for proof), and if the numerous clips online are anything to go by, Bridesmaids could feature a dialogue heavy with expletives.

With the film having a rating of PG15 across the UAE, El-Khoury confirms that a few elements have been cut out.

"There are some things that we have removed, just like any other movie, such as certain bad words," he said.

When The Hangover Part II was first screened, UAE audiences were shocked that various graphic scenes had remained unedited. It took just a week for these to be quickly removed.

However, El-Khoury is confident that this won't be the case with Bridesmaids.

"Thankfully, it's not that much like The Hangover Part II.