[3.5 stars] Bridesmaids (2011) on IMDb

[Amazon Link]

A couple weeks back I mentioned that Paul was your go-to movie if you've always wanted to see Kristen Wiig talk dirty. Guess what? You can make it a double feature with Bridesmaids!

Also included at no extra charge: Maya Rudolph talking dirty, Melissa McCarthy talking dirty, Wendi McLendon-Covey talking dirty, even the late Jill Clayburgh (in her final movie) talking a bit dirty, … you get the idea. It's R-rated for "some strong sexuality, and language throughout." It's one of those movies I feel a little guilty for enjoying.

Ms. Wiig plays likeable Annie; her life's on a quick slide to loserville. The only man in her life (played by Jon Hamm) exemplifies the reason why feminists invented the term "male chauvinist pig." She's a gifted baker, but her shop (and she) went broke. She's inappropriate for her jewelry store job: she keeps telling romantically-inclined customers that their relationships will probably be ephemeral.

But then her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) gets engaged and ropes her into maid of honor duties. The other bridesmaids are an assorted lot, full of colorful quirks and foibles, and they generate a lot of comic situations. Most irritating is Helen (Rose Byrne), who is a wizard at organizing festivities; she and Annie start a passive-aggressive competition at making Lillian's wedding experience magical. Annie is no match for Helen, and her insecurities lead her to various hilarious disasters.

It's good raunchy fun, if your tastes run that way. There are no surprises, if you've seen this sort of movie before: once Annie hits rock bottom, she finds a way to shape up, gets involved with a decent guy, turns her life around, etc. But it's all about the journey down and back up, which kept me both laughing and wincing, sometimes simultaneously.

Last Modified 2012-09-24 3:29 PM EST

I Try To Catch Huntsman Fever

[Jon Huntsman]

Your intrepid blogger got himself up out of his cubicle and went to see GOP Presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman yesterday at the Memorial Union Building at the University Near Here.

Not that Huntsman has much of a shot: Only one poll this year has shown Huntsman out of the single digits in New Hampshire. Intrade gives him only a 2.7% chance at winning the GOP nomination, behind Mitt, Rick, Herman, and even Newt. (On the other hand, he's doing far better than Pun Salad's own choice, Gary Johnson. Who doesn't typically even show up in polls, and Intrade has at 0.4%.)

But still: this is New Hampshire, the primary campaign is increasing its volume, and, as Yogi Berra noted, you can observe a lot by just watching. So I did.

Huntsman spoke in the Strafford Room, which is not the largest room in the MUB. It was crowded, though. He was introduced by the UNH College Republicans' president, who claimed out that Huntsman was running "on his record, not away from it." This was a pretty obvious zing at Mitt Romney, but it was indirect, and it was the only one. Huntsman didn't engage in that himself; in fact he didn't mention the other GOP candidates at all, and his criticisms were all aimed at Democrats, their policies, and their legislation.

Huntsman's speech was actually kind of a big deal: it was the official rollout of his energy policy. (Here's the transcript of his prepared remarks.) Summary: increase domestic production of energy; break oil's "monopoly" as a transportation fuel; spur innovation and research into alternative energy technologies and delivery methods.

There are a number of reasons why a conservative/libertarian voter like me might like Huntsman. His proposed tax reform is pretty good. (But not great: see Steve Landsburg for a compare-n-contrast.) He's an unabashed advocate of free trade. He wants to get rid of Obamacare, Dodd/Frank, and Sarbanes/Oxley. He wants to "rein in" many aspects of the regulatory state: EPA, FDA, NRLB, etc. He advocates privatizing Fannie and Freddie. He pledges to "eliminate every subsidy for energy companies". And (although this didn't come up in the speech) he's against ethanol subsidies.

But there are false notes. He wrapped his speech around the overall theme of "energy independence," which irritates my libertarian side. Even though he's a free trader in other areas, he lets the protectionist rhetoric fly in the energy sector. And it's unclear how much corporate welfare might fit under the "energy independence" banner. (He pledged to fund a lot of "basic research" which, at a research university, might count as pandering.)

Here's Huntsman's problem: if I had to attach a single adjective to his style, it would be: boring. I'm not a fan of the stem-winding/podium-pounding/rabble-rousing speaking style, but Huntsman approached the other extreme. He was not as flat as Kansas, but almost. He tried to make one joke: it got a few chuckles from people trying to be polite. His speech had no detectable applause lines (and the audience obliged by not applauding until the end).

I went to see Steve Forbes in '96. Reader, Huntsman makes Steve Forbes look like Jesse Jackson.

Huntsman took a few questions from the audience after the speech. The first one was from a nice Durham lady; she noted that her power had been out for days, that it seemed to have gone out a lot over the past few years, and what was Huntsman's energy policy going to do about that?

To Huntsman's credit: he managed to answer that diplomatically. (Which makes sense: he was a diplomat.)

Another questioner was studying Chinese; he requested that Huntsman answer in Mandarin, and Huntsman obliged. This got the biggest laugh of the day. Sounded good to me, but it has been alleged that Huntsman's fluency in Chinese is overstated. By him.

Summary: on the issues, better than Romney. But he'll wind up as (at best) Secretary of State in the Romney Administration.

Last Modified 2017-12-02 5:15 PM EST