Top 100 American Movie Quotes of the 21st Century: #69

The actor:Rebel Wilson
The character:Brynn
The film:Bridesmaids
The quote:“At first I did not know it was your diary. I thought it was a very sad handwritten book.”

Bridesmaids has this reputation, which it’s certainly earned, as a comedy based largely on projectiles. It is a real thumper, a movie which does not hold back much from the street pooping or an especially ruddy Melissa McCarthy or endlessly cringey speeches and arguments with teenagers at the jewelry counter. They’ve made the movie beloved, and more importantly they’ve made the movie a landmark, but whether or not those things are why this movie is funny has to be up for discussion. Since my first viewing of this back at a drive-in movie theater somewhere in the swamps of Jersey, I’ve thought what made this movie funny enough to remember was how pathetic the Kristen Wiig character was. Annie is just a big loser, a big ol’ loser who everyone recognizes is a big ol’ loser. The pathos in this thing is that it’s not entirely Annie’s fault that she is a statue for pigeons. The recession was a bad time for small business owners, which Annie was, and that she now has to make her way in a job she didn’t choose surrounded by people she mostly dislikes has more to do with circumstance than choice. Yet the world judges losers less by cause than by effect, and so it is that we reach this moment in the film where we meet Annie’s awful roommates, who don’t exactly buoy her confidence.

Matt Lucas was achieving a kind of peak in the early 2010s, pulled for voice acting roles and bit parts in major films, based on some success built up as a fixture on British TV. Rebel Wilson was less of a known quantity for those of us who weren’t watching Australian television or checking out Los Angeles comedy shows, but the year after this she got pulled into Pitch Perfect to be their Bridesmaids Melissa McCarthy. Neither one of them has much to do here, other than exacerbate Annie’s deep loneliness and sense of failure. (Neither one of them is as funny as Jon Hamm doing the same thing, just as someone who was made to get taken down by #MeToo.) That’s how it comes to pass that Wilson has arguably the funniest single line of this entire movie about this competitive, humiliated, frustrated woman who she lives with, spoken by someone who is perhaps even too dumb to really be malicious. I’m also so tickled by this description of a diary, because, really, what else is a diary besides a very sad handwritten book?

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