The Five-Year Engagement, the R-rated romantic comedy starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt that hits theaters this weekend, could be "this year's Bridesmaids," says Sandie Angulo Chen at Next Movie. Like last summer's box office behemoth, Engagement is produced by Judd Apatow, centers around wedding planning, and features as many raunchy sex jokes as it does heartfelt moments. But it's hardly the first film to draw comparisons to Kristen Wiig's Oscar-nominated hit. Here, a look at The Five-Year Engagement and six other movies that have been touted as "the next Bridesmaids":
1. The Five-Year Engagement
In The Five-Year Engagement, Segel and Blunt play a newly engaged couple repeatedly forced to postpone their wedding while they finish grad school, start distracting new jobs, and overcome various other obstacles. Like Bridesmaids scenestealers Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph, Engagements' Alison Brie and Chris Pratt are uproarious in supporting roles, says Chen. The sex scenes are terribly amusing, and Blunt's character is as believable and complex as Wiig's in Bridesmaids. More importantly, says Steven Rea at The Philadelphia Inquirer, both films prove that it's possible to "address grown-up issues of commitment, of responsibility, of love, and have some fun, and some profanity, while you're at it."
Given its title, it's not surprising that Sundance breakout Bachelorette (coming June 1) was branded "the next Bridesmaids" by E! Online. In the raunchy flick, Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, and Isla Fisher star as mean-girl bridesmaids with sharp senses of humor and sharper tongues. They unapologetically blow cocaine, have bathroom sex, and backstab each other, leading Caplan to clarify that though "we're all huge fans of Bridesmaids," Bachelorette's comedy comes from "a much darker, more independent place." So really, says the Los Angeles Times, Bachelorette is only "(sort of) like Bridesmaids."
3. L!fe Happens
The indie dramedy L!fe Happens (released April 13) had "the promise of delivering the next Bridesmaids or Sex and the City message of comedic woman empowerment," says Stephanie Byrd at the Daily Trojan. But the film, which stars Krysten Ritter as a struggling young single mom, comes off more like "a poorer cousin to the recent Apatow factory hit," says Andrew Barker at Variety. "Its smattering of femme-centric gross-out humor" gels with the motherhood storyline "about as gracefully as the odd exclamation point does into [the word 'Life' in] its title."
4. American Reunion
American Reunion (released April 6), the new nostalgia-driven installment in the American Pie teen-sex franchise, never rises to the level of intelligent raunch that Bridesmaids attained, says Brian D. Johnson at Maclean's. But the film's opening scene could be viewed as an homage to the Apatow smash. As in Bridesmaids, American Reunion opens to the sounds of a bed squeaking and bouncing. But when the camera pans up, it's revealed that the mattress "is not being pounded by carnal calisthenics" — a la Wiig and Hamm's in Bridesmaids — but by a jumping toddler.
5. Friends With Kids
Indie romantic comedy Friends With Kids (released March 16) earned the "next Bridesmaids" moniker after reuniting the film's players Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, and Jon Hamm. The quartet play foils to the film's central couple: Two friends who decide to platonically conceive and raise a child. "The dialogue climaxes in a vulgar kicker that makes Harry and Sally sound like Shakespeare," says Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly, inviting comparisons to Bridemaids' uncensored script. But "if you're looking for Bridesmaids-style belly laughs, says Bruce Fretts at Fretts on Film, brace yourself for disappointment.
The Jennifer Aniston/Paul Rudd hippie commune romp (released February 24) is "yet another vulgar comedy with heart from the Judd Apatow laugh factory," says Sheldon A. Wiebe at Eclipse Magazine. Like Bridesmaids, the film is simultaneously profane and sweet. But one fatal difference, says Maria Aspan at Movieline, is that Wanderlust resorts to all of the "tiresome cliches about How Women Act" that Bridesmaids was heralded for avoiding.
7. Bad Teacher
Some critics went further than simply calling Bad Teacher (released June 24, 2011) the next Bridesmaids, making a case that it's even more game-changing. Cameron Diaz's aggressively selfish teacher is crude and barely likable, says Stephanie Zacharek at Movieline. But unlike Wiig's character in Bridesmaids, Diaz's isn't endearingly pathetic. She refuses to ingratiate herself with the audience, which "feels revolutionary."
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