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I watched Bridesmaids at The Byrd Theater in Richmond on Saturday night. I was looking forward to it - directed by Paul Feig, staring Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and several other talented actors/actresses. And you know what? It was fairly funny. The acting was terrific (especially Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph). But I had a hard time watching this movie.

It's not because the movie was crass (boy, though, was it crass). It's not because of a ridiculously contrived plot (it was straightforward enough). It was because Bridesmaids is humiliation comedy. Humiliation comedy is my term for movies where much of the humor revolves around on character unfairly taking the blame for a demoralizing series of mishaps, a la Meet the Parents. That sort of comedy ties my stomach in knots because I end up empathizing with the protagonist, wishing she would just utter one or two sentences that could easily clear up the tiny misunderstanding that lead to monumental problems.

I suppose in Bridesmaids the humiliation was for the sake of piling on misery to an already downtrodden character, making her restoration that much more dramatic. But that's cheap; an artificial means of creating strife between the lead and those close to her.

There are some other issues I had with the movie, like the weak reliance on aerial establishing shots of Milwaukee and Chicago (Hey! Landmarks! Now you know where this act takes place!), and some ideological quibbles, but those would've knocked off maybe a star at most from my rating. Yet with a structure that caused me to tense up anticipating the next embarrassing plot contrivance, I just can't give this movie more than 3/5.