Tomorrow, Bridesmaids finally hits theaters, and it’s going to be a hit. How big of a hit remains to be seen, but we’re guessing it’ll land somewhere in the middle of “massive” and “monster” (mega?). You’ve already heard all the Hangover-for-chicks comparisons, and while they might be enough to convince your boyfriend that he’s not being dragged to a chick flick, they don’t quite capture Bridesmaids’ wide appeal. It is a chick flick. But it’s also a buddy movie, a coming-of-age story, a poignant romantic comedy, and yes, The Hangover for chicks. It’s also cast perfectly, with Kristen Wiig, who co-wrote the screenplay, leading the charge, “a lot of funny ladies that you’ve seen in other things,” as co-star Wendi McLendon-Covey put it at yesterday’s premiere. Some are recognizable (it’s Erin from The Office!) and some aren’t, but all of them are going to reap the benefits of appearing in a movie that might do for women’s comedy what The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Superbad did for men’s comedy, all those summers ago. But who will be the biggest star emerge from this overall winner? We investigate.
Kristen Wiig: Well, duh. Not only did one of Saturday Night Live‘s all-time greats co-write the screenplay with close friend Annie Mumolo, but she wrote herself the juiciest part. Compared to her asylum of SNL crazies, Wiig’s Annie is relatively subdued, but you can still sense Wiig’s patented battiness eeking through. Like that scene on the airplane where she gets accidentally drunk and impersonates Hitler. Wiig also, for the first time, has a legitimate romantic arc (you don’t count, MacGruber), and her heartbreak and lack of self-worth is deeply felt. Post-SNL, Wiig could have been stuck playing caricatures instead of characters. Now, not so much. Odds: 2-1
Ellie Kemper: Fans of The Office are already keen on Kemper’s deer-in-headlights charm, as the naive but legitimately crushable Erin the Receptionist. In Bridesmaids, her character has all of Erin’s dorky appeal, all of Erin’s naïveté, and is constantly flashing Erin’s ear-to-ear smile. Okay, so basically, she’s playing another version of Erin, but lots of people seeing Bridesmaids will have never seen her on The Office, so she will delight them. And while this is priceless exposure for the young comedienne, she’ll have to wait her turn. (Side note: Greta Gerwig once told us that she auditioned for a role in Bridesmaids, and bet this was it.) Odds: 10-1
Melissa McCarthy: If Bridesmaids really is The Hangover for chicks, then McCarthy is its Zach Galifiankis. That’s not to say she’ll come out of this with this biggest career, the way Galifiankis arguably did (although Bradley Cooper’s agent might have something to say about that),