Two wedding related movies within a week of each other? That’s right it’s summer, otherwise known as “counter-programming season” as studios try to woo female audiences to the theater during a time that’s best known for being full of movies designed to attract guys, teenagers and young kids. So for every spandex-clad hero that will be gracing screens there will also be movies meant (in the most generic, stereotypical way, a position this author does not necessarily subscribe to) for the distaff set.
But Bridesmaids is a little unusual and certainly doesn’t even appear to be in the same genre as last week’s Something Borrowed except that they both do, in the loosest possible terms, deal with weddings. This new movie, though, has a much different take. Kristen Wiig plays Annie, a woman who’s more than a little directionless in her career, her romantic relationships and more. One day she’s asked by her best friend Lilian (Maya Rudolph) to be her maid of honor at her upcoming wedding. The awkward factor is only increased when she’s introduced to the other bridesmaids, who range from a bitter stay at home mom to an innocent newlywed to a gorgeous woman who has her life together to a rough and tumble lady with an overactive libido.
The first poster for the movie certainly did quite a bit to convey the film’s attitude. All the women are standing against a plain brick wall in their formalwear with looks of extreme attitude on their faces, like a gang of tough chicks hanging out behind the high school waiting for someone to come and try to mess with them.
As i said, this one is all about selling the attitude of the movie as being something other than what’s normally seen in movie-themed films. Instead of perky and funny we get world-weary and sassy, like any of these women would as soon cut you as look at you.
A second version of the poster was basically the same image, only with a bunch of quotes from various movie sites at the top, with most of those quotes coming from SXSW and other early screenings.
Later a series of character posters was released, each one showing a different member of the cast and introducing their character with an identifying characteristic like “The Innocent One,” “The Wild Card” and such like that.
The first trailer immediately shows us Rudolph announcing her engagement and asking Wiig to be her maid of honor, a role that she accepts but that’s apparently before she realizes what all is involved. Meeting the rest of the bridal party is awkward all around as the other women are not at all the kinds of crazy. Then the group is off to Vegas for some cranes and it’s then that we get a fast montage of some of the antics they get into there.
The spot makes it clear the movie is being positioned as one that shows women can be every bit as crazy as guys, if not more. There’s lots of smack talk and insanity in what they’re doing and it’s clear much of the comedy comes from Wiig and her reacting to the others in the wedding party, all of whom are quite different in personality. So she gets to be the straight woman while everyone else goes for punchlines. Good stuff.
The second trailer starts out by presenting more background on Wiig’s character and the sad situation she’s in. We then see various antics that she gets in to with the rest of the bridesmaids once she finds out her best friend is getting married. There are a lot of the same jokes here that were in the first one, just with a slightly different approach to many of them. There’s also a little bit more about what kind of romantic situation Wiig’s character herself gets into but otherwise it’s not all that different from the earlier trailer.
Another red-band trailer was later released that showed how the bridesmaids interact with each other, which is the source of much of the comedy. There’s also some pretty raunchy bits between Wiig and Hamm that haven’t been seen before and it tries to milk a lot of laughs from the larger woman who has an overly aggressive libido. But other than that it’s not too different from the previous trailers.
When you first bring up the official website you’re immediately thrown into pink overload. There’s a scroll of quotes from early reviews of the movie at the bottom and encouragement to connect with the movie’s official presences on various social networks all over the place. You can watch either the all-ages or restricted trailers as well.
After finally Entering the Site you see an array of the character’s faces with little placecards showing their names and character descriptions. Clicking on one of them takes you to a place where you can download and view media such as wallpapers, video clips and more that’s specific to that character. This same information is available by clicking “Characters” in the menu on the left.
“Film” has a Story synopsis, Cast and Crew histories and Production Notes to download and view.
The “Gallery” has a nice selection of stills from the film and “Video” all the trailers as well as two TV Spots and a Look Inside video that features interviews with Wiig and more.
All the material that was previously spread out amongst the characters is collected in “Downloads,” including Twitter Skins that you can add to your profile. Finally “Features” has a Trailer Maker and Photo Challenge for your entertainment.
The movie’s Facebook page has a bunch of features that have been ported over from the official site as well as downloadable photos and updates on the cast’s publicity appearances.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
I didn’t see any online advertising that was or wasn’t done but there was a bit of TV time bought, with commercials that showcased this as being very much an ensemble comedy. The ones I’ve seen have played up the rivalry between the bridesmaids and emphasized the interplay between them while still slightly favoring Wiig.
Media and Publicity
Despite the fact that it would still be unfinished, the movie was announced as the closing night feature at SXSW Film 2011. Considering the studio’s attempts to sell it as a female version of The Hangover and the fact that the crowd at SXSW is exactly the one that made The Hangover into a huge hit that made a ton of sense.
The buzz coming out of there was decidedly mixed, with some saying it was the funniest movie of the festival and others saying it’s just a mess. The movie’s screening there did give the director a chance to talk (Los Angeles Times, 3/15/11) about how he went about crafting the role for Wiig and what a “comedy nerd” Jon Hamm is.
There were also profiles of Wiig (Time, 5/2/11) and how she got the movie made, what her career has looked like to date and more, all of which is appropriate since she’s the driving force behind the film.
There’s a lot to like here, most of it the enthusiasm that’s coming off of Wiig no matter how much she plays a character who feels put upon and drifting. The campaign – and the movie as a whole – relies on her being someone who we *want* to watch and this marketing push makes it clear she’s just that and more. Really for all the emphasis that’s been put on the supporting players in the movie it’s still obvious that this is her movie to make or break and the character that’s presented here should be attractive to fans of hers.
I’m pretty sure that an audience that’s more accustomed to the more cliched and saccharine type of wedding movie might be a bit perplexed here and someone going in to this movie expecting that is going to be mightily disappointed. But if they’re expecting that kind of movie then it’s obvious they haven’t been paying attention to the campaign since that’s not at all what’s being sold here.
PICKING UP THE SPARE
- 05/15/11 – An interesting partnership with group-messaging app Fast Society gave people promos that included audio clips from the movie and more.
- 05/24/11 – Cole Albius at FSR calls the movie on the carpet for what he calls “false advertising” by selling the movie based almost solely on the idea that it’s a gross out movie for women.