Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bridesmaids 2, or The NBC Comedy Mafia

While I was watching Friends With Kids on Saturday, I couldn't help thinking:

Writer-director-star Jennifer Westfeldt might have just run onto the set of Bridesmaids and said "Okay, you, you, you and you. Come with me. We're making another movie together."

Maybe the reason Kristen Wiig doesn't want to make another Bridesmaids is that she's sick of the principle cast?

Then again, hardly -- we're living in an era where ensembles of actors, especially comedic actors, simply love working together. Making it not that much different, I guess, from other eras.

Bridesmaids veterans Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd and Jon Hamm all appear in Westfeldt's directorial debut. Hamm's appearance makes a certain sense, as he's been in a relationship with Westfeldt for the past 15 years.

The rest? Well, because they're part of the NBC Comedy Mafia.

I don't know why I want to use "mafia" here, except that a group of people who regularly associate with one another is sometimes referred to as a mafia, even if their intentions are not malicious. If we wanted to, for example, we could call Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Paul Rudd part of the Judd Apatow Mafia.

So let's take a closer look at the cast of Friends With Kids and suss out the connections.

Hamm is a regular Saturday Night Live host and maker of cameo guest appearances, and has appeared on 30 Rock. Rudolph was an SNL cast member and currently appears on NBC's Up All Night. Wiig is a current SNL member and one of Rudolph's best friends. (And I think has guested on at least one of the NBC Thursday night shows.) And Adam Scott, who is the male lead in this movie alongside Westfeldt, is currently on NBC's Parks and Recreation.

The system breaks down after that, since none of O'Dowd, Westfeldt, Ed Burns or Megan Fox have appeared on any NBC programs, to my knowledge. (On further inspection, Burns actually appeared in three episodes of Will & Grace and produced a short-lived NBC show called The Fighting Fitzgeralds.)

But I have to say this is a pretty appealing group of people to watch together in a movie. One of the great strengths of Friends With Benefits is its ensemble cast -- even if Rudolph and Wiig don't really have enough to do. Since these two were the stars of Bridesmaids, it's kind of funny to see them play such second fiddles here -- both Westfeldt, a funny and charming actress who does not work regularly (though I loved her in Kissing Jessica Stein), and Fox, a bombshell who is generally unlikable, get more screen time. It's also funny to see who they're matched up with, as Wiig is with Hamm, who played her obnoxious boy toy in Bridesmaids, and Rudolph is with O'Dowd, who played Wiig's nice-guy love interest, the Irish cop. I almost expected Wiig to have a cat fight with Rudolph in this movie -- "Keep your hands off my man!" (And I'm just realizing, I don't think Rudolph's and O'Dowd's characters even meet in Bridesmaids.)

Okay, this post is turning into total stream-of-consciousness.

I'll conclude with something concrete: See Friends With Kids for its great ensemble, who I will be excited to see work together again. (It's also got some smart observations about life and relationships, even if it does kind of whimper out in the third act.)

And given their fast friendships and many connections, it seems likely that they will work together again.

But probably not in Bridesmaids 2, if Wiig gets her way.

Maybe they should have their own NBC sitcom instead?

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