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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

Bridesman ****

Starring: Jimmy Fowlie, Sydnee Washington, Shannon DeVido, Calvin Seabrooks

Directors: Julian Buchan, John Onieal

Country: USA

I can count the number of genuinely funny LGBT+ comedies that exist on one hand. The last one was G.B.F. (2013), a full decade ago! But now, adapted from the web series of the same name created by Grindr - no seriously - comes another to add to that list: Bridesman. Refreshingly ridiculous and sassy, this is 90% better than it had any right to be. And it’s a complete win for everyone involved!

Self-obsessed Terry (Fowlie) has been invited to be a bridesman at the wedding of his best friend, Judith (Washington). Furious that the role of maid of honour has gone to someone else (DeVido), he’s equally bitter that his friend is marrying full stop. Vowing to sleep with her husband-to-be and scupper the entire wedding, his machinations are challenged by a host of colourful and absurd fellow guests, ending in a whole quagmire of farcical frivolity.

This “desperate-to-stop-the-wedding” formula might be tried and tested (hello My Best Friend’s Wedding), but it’s not the narrative that keeps us chuckling all the way through. Instead it’s the cast of utterly ludicrous characters and a snappy, pithy script that crams gag after gag into a delightfully short run-time. Terry is utterly detestable, but in such an exaggerated way that he’s truly magnetic. Conceited and deluded, his levels of self-centric grandeur are off the chart. But Judith is exactly the same, and theirs is a pairing that you can genuinely believe in. In a hilariously surreal flashback, the adult actors play their preteen characters with a verbose woke deadpan that serves only to underline their presentation as extreme archetypes. And it simply works.

This is writing that has employed the same improvisational process as comedic giants like Bridesmaids; allowing actors to riff with jokes until they find something that sticks for the edit. The result is genuine absurdity, with the cast taking the baton from its writers and delivering it - embellished and vajazzled - neatly across the finishing line.

Glossy, sleek and idealised, this is well-packaged escapism that keeps one eye on Queer Culture and the other on mainstream humour. Slick, polished and genuinely funny, you’ll almost wish you’d watched the full series first, just to bask in even more of these characters on screen. But then, as a movie it just works. Well played, Grindr; well played.

UK Release: 5th June 2023 on DVD and VOD, released by TLA Releasing


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