Summer Movie Reviews: The Hangover 2, Bridesmaids, Jumping the Broom, Something Borrowed

Memorial Day weekend was all about wedding movies

Long weekends are usually accompanied by weddings, and this one was no exception. This Memorial Day, I witnessed two friends tying the knot at an amazingly cool venue in New York City’s Brooklyn.

It’s fitting because, for pre-festivities entertainment, there were at least four wedding-related movies in theaters. Though I think that wedding movies are mostly awful (see my blog post about Poptional Weddings here), some of these either got good critical reviews and/or made a ton of box-office cash. Let’s take a look, from biggest blockbuster to quietest release.

The Hangover II
Opening-weekend box office gross: $86 million
Metacritic score: 44 (click here for Metacritic reviews of The Hangover II)
What critics are saying: “If you superimposed a diagram that mapped out all the narrative beats, characters, and jokes in The Hangover Part II over one for The Hangover, the two would align almost perfectly.” — Manhola Dargis, the New York Times
The deal: OK, so this is not necessarily all about the wedding. There’s a groom, sure, and a bride, but if you want to see this movie, you can still take a dude who couldn’t care less about wedding movies. That’s probably why, despite middling critic reviews, The Hangover II is the highest grossing R-rated film in its first five days.

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bridesmaids movieBridesmaids photograph courtesy of Suzanne Hanover. © 2011 Universal Studios. All rights reserved

Opening-weekend box office gross: $26 million
Metacritic score: 75 (click here for Metacritic reviews of Bridesmaids)
What critics are saying: “It’s no surprise that Bridemaids sputters, coughs, and lurches, but it’s a winning shambles, buoyed by a sharp, balanced comedic ensemble and some truthful observations about how close friends adapt when their lives fall out of step.” — Scott Tobias, the A.V. Club
The deal: Bridemaids is pretty much a direct response to comedies that don’t give women any of the punchlines. Here, though there are a few funny male performances, the ladies are the ones who bring home the big laughs. It may not have made as much money as its male-centric counterpart The Hangover II, it got better views and inspired a wave of trend pieces about the need for women in comedy, which can’t be a bad thing.

Jumping the Broom
Opening-weekend box office gross: $15 million
Metacritic score: 56 (click here for Metacritic reviews of Jumping the Broom)
What critics are saying: “No one tries to break the mold here; the cultural jokes, Mars/Venus conflicts, and last-minute revelations come just as we expect. Still, most of the actors dig deeper than such a traditional date night film demands.” — Elizabeth Weitzman, the New York Daily News
The deal: It’s not too out-of-the-wedding-movie box, but Jumping the Broom distinguishes itself by focusing on the class differences between in-laws in an extended African-American family. The movie was produced by pastor T.D. Jakes, a writer and producer of films with a spiritual bent, so this one reaches out to a few niche audiences looking for something other than blondes pining over each other’s fiancés.

Something Borrowed
Opening-weekend box office gross: $14 million
Metacritic score: 36 (click here for Metacritic reviews of Something Borrowed)
What critics are saying: “This relatively charmless adaptation centers on the relatable-enough panic of watching one’s ideal partner tie the knot with the wrong person, but ditches all the elements that link the premise to real life, skidding off into irreconcilable differences long before the wedding.” — Peter Debruge, Variety
The deal: Something Borrowed uses the playbook of pretty much every wedding movie ever. And we all know how good typical wedding movies are, right? As a result, neither audiences nor critics were particularly charmed.

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