This week: The female answer to The Hangover, a heist flick that pairs 50 Cent with Bruce Willis, and a German vampire movie that sheds true blood.
It's high time someone reinvented the chick flick, which is exactly what producer Judd Apatow, director Paul Fieg, and writers Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig attempt to do with Bridesmaids—a raunchy romantic comedy that is strong enough for a man, but written by two women. Wiig plays a single thirtysomething woman treading water in Milwaukee whose best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), is getting married. Cattiness and laughter come when Annie meets fellow bridesmaid Helen (Rose Byrne)—a privileged princess who shamelessly competes with Annie for Lillian's friendship.
The centerpiece of this comedic buffet is when the gals chow down at a Brazilian restaurant, per Annie's suggestion, and take off to try on their gowns at an upscale boutique only to discover that they all have an unprecedented case of food poisoning, which results in a literally explosive situation and one character relieving herself in the middle of traffic.
Writers Wiig and Mumulo have wrapped raunch and toilet humor around a female-centric comedy that, at its core, is about the ties that bind and being honest. The ladies push their luck to the limit by stretching the feather-light premise over two hours, but just when the movie seems to fall into the usual chick-flick trappings (shopping, pining for a man, obsessing about weddings), the movie hits you with something unexpected. Is it the funniest comedy of the year, as some have called it? Bridemaids isn't as outrageous as many critics seem to think it is, but it still takes the cake for many.
Best extras: Both the unrated DVD and Blu-ray have a group audio commentary, a collection of the funniest improvised lines from the movie, deleted and extended scenes, a cheesy commercial for the jewelry store where Annie worked and a gag reel. The Blu-ray gets the last laugh with even more exclusive extras, including a behind-the-scenes featurette, more deleted and alternate scenes, plus another gag reel.
Verdict: Rent Me
What happens when you throw Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Bruce Willis and Ryan Phillippe together in a movie? You get the crime thriller Setup in which a heist gets deadly after Phillippe betrays his longtime friend (Jackson) and takes off with the loot. This prompts Jackson to team up with a dangerous mob boss (Willis) to get back what is his and even the score with his former bud. In the end, Jackson is forced to make a life-changing decision about what to do with his former bud.
Phillippe plays the same kind of snake in the grass here as he did in The Lincoln Lawyer—a character he plays so well that, if he's not careful, he will end up playing over and over again until he retires. Willis phones it in as the threatening mob boss lurking in the background, leaving the bulk of the film's focus on Jackson. "Fiddy" might be a formidable rapper and he has the build you'd expect to play a gun-toting thug, but this role requires a range of emotions that Jackson just can't express on-screen with his one dead-faced look. When one scene requires Jackson to shed a single tear, you'll chuckle as you imagine a production assistant racing offscreen after applying it to his frozen face with an eyedropper.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain an audio commentary with director Mike Gunther, a making-of featurette, "Weapons on the Set of Setup" plus cast and crew interviews.
Verdict: Forget Me
We Are the Night
If you're already feeling anemic now that True Blood has ended its fourth season, give yourself a transfusion of excitement with this sexy, bloody good German vampire thriller in which a scrappy pickpocket named Lena (Karoline Herfurth) arouses the attention of an ancient vampire cougar named Louise (Nina Hoss). Louise attacks and transforms Lena into a beautiful vampire at a club, and Lena is sucked into a new world of adventure with Louise and her two vamp gal pals. The ladies of the night steal hot cars, dance on the ceiling and suck men dry at their leisure, but Lena's growing attraction to a police officer investigating a murder case involving the vampires threatens the security of the group.
Although this female-centric story might sound like Sex and the City with fangs, this is not a frothy romp played for laughs. These immortal women feel the weight of loneliness and time passing, like when one comforts her dying daughter in a hospital whom the vampire hasn't seen since her child was a baby in 1923. There is plenty of violence and gorgeous nighttime cinematography of gravity-defying vampire clashes that will convince you that, despite the inundation of vampire fiction, there is still life left to drain from the genre.
Best extras: The DVD contains interviews and a behind-the-scenes featurette.
Verdict: Rent Me
Also New This Week: Modern Family: The Complete Second Season, Dumbo (BD), Hawaii Five-O: The First Season, The Kennedys, Breakfast at Tiffany's (BD), The Others (BD), Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2, Scary Movie 2 (BD), Scary Movie 3 (BD), Spooky Buddies, Vamp (BD) and Final Exam