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Hollywood Screenwriting Directory

Bridesmaids (2011)

Screenplay Genre: Comedy

Movie Time: 125 Minutes

Synopsis: Annie (Kristin Wiig) is the Maid of Honor in her best friend Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding. She’s having a hard enough time getting her own life together, but when Lillian’s presumed new best friend Helen (Rose Byrne) usurps her Maid of Honor duties, Annie’s barely held together life is sent into a downward spiral.


Act I

SEQUENCE ONE

Introduce Protagonist (Fool/Best Friend): ANNIE WALKER is in a shallow relationship and her life is at an all time low.

Introduce Rival #1 (Narcissist/ Lover): TED (Jon Hamm) is her shallow pseudo-boyfriend.

World of the Story: Living as a middle-aged single woman in modern day poor economy Milwaukee. Live just hasn’t worked out the way Annie thought.

Introduce Supporting Character (Best Friend): LILLIAN is in a fulfilling relationship with DOUGIE (Tim Heidecker) in a neighboring upscale town.

Introduce Rival #2 (Fool): BRYNN (Rebel Wilson) is a chubby, creepy, British, pasty loser who freeloads in Annie and Gil’s apartment.

Introduce Rival #3 (Fool): GIL (Matt Lucas) is her chubby, creepy, British, pasty brother who lets Brynn live in the apartment and is pretty upset that Annie is always late with her rent.

Status Quo: Life just hasn’t worked out the way Annie thought it would. Her lifelong dream of owning and operating a bakery went under in five months; she’s in a pseudo-relationship with a real jerk, her roommates are creepy, and she has to work at a strip mall jewelry store job that her mother got her. But, at least she still has Lillian.

Inciting Incident (Plot point #1)Lillian reveals to Annie that she’s engaged to Dougie, and she wants Annie to be her Maid of Honor.

(00:12:38)


SEQUENCE TWO

Protagonist’s Objective: Annie wants to be the best Maid of Honor ever.

Introduce Supporting Character (Nurturer): Annie’s divorced mother JUDY (Jill Clayburgh) goes to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to meet men. She tells Annie it’s a good thing that she’s ‘hitting bottom.’

Plant #1: Judy asks if Annie wants to move in with her.

Introduce Supporting Character (Mentor/Cynic): RITA (Wendi McLendon-Covey) Marriage veteran with three boys and desperately needs a vacation.

Introduce Supporting Character (Dreamer): BECCA (Ellie Kemper) Sweet and naïve Disney obsessed marriage rookie.

Introduce Supporting Character (Best Friend): MEGAN (Melissa McCarthy) Sister of the Groom and the only other single woman in the Bridal party. She’s a heavyset sexpot with a heart of gold.

Introduce Antagonist (Nemesis): HELEN is the upper class shunned wannabe Maid of Honor, and she’s passive aggressively taking over duties.

Lock In (Plot Point #2): Annie has a furious microphone spat with scorned Maid of Honor Helen. (00:26:20)

Plant #2: Lillian begs Annie to have lunch with Helen and give her a chance.

(00:27:25)


Act II

SEQUENCE THREE

Establish Act II Tension: Can Annie live up to her Maid of Honor duties, or will Helen swoop in and steal her best friend?

Introduce Supporting Character (Lover): OFFICER NATHAN RHODES (Chris O’Dowd) is quirky, handsome, and Irish.

Introduce Sub-Plot: Officer Nathan Rhodes pulls over Annie on the way home from the engagement party. Feeling sorry for her, he let’s her off with a warning and his phone number.

Plant #3: Officer Rhodes remembers Annie’s bakery, and speaks very fondly of it. This uplifting comment leads to Annie going home and baking an elaborate cupcake for the first time since her bakery closed.

Payoff #2: Helen and Annie play a heated game of tennis, followed by a passive aggressive lunch at the Country Club.

First Act II Obstacle: Annie has to host a Bridesmaid’s lunch and she doesn’t have very much money.

Obstacle Solution: Annie takes the bridal party to a seedy Brazilian restaurant.  

Plant #4: Annie mentions she want’s to have a quaint (inexpensive) French style Bridal shower. Helen thinks they need something more special (expensive).

(00:40:34)


SEQUENCE FOUR

New Act II Obstacle: Annie has to take everyone to a fancy bridal shop, but she didn’t get a reservation.

Obstacle Ramifications: Helen knows an employee at the fancy Bridal shop and gets them in.

Predicament: Annie doesn’t have enough money for the fancy bridesmaid’s dress that Helen picks out. So she tries to convince the other bridesmaids to select a cheaper option.

Obstacle Ramifications: The Brazilian restaurant gave everyone food poisoning, culminating in Lillian having diarrhea in the middle of the road in front of the fancy bridal shop in an expensive wedding dress.

Predicament Ramifications: With the ensuing chaos at the fancy bridal shop, Helen chooses the more expensive bridesmaids dresses for everyone.  

New Act II Obstacle: Annie needs to plan a bachelorette party and she’s broke and losing the faith of the other bridesmaids and Lillian.

Predicament: Annie needs a date for the wedding.

Predicament Ramifications: Annie asks Ted, but he refuses leaving Annie dateless.

Mid Point (Plot Point #3): After a disappointing night at Ted’s house, Annie runs into Officer Rhodes at a convenience store. Without Lillian around to talk about all her issues, she opens up to Officer Rhodes about all of her problems and a romance begins to blossom.

(00:54:20)


SEQUENCE FIVE

Obstacle Ramifications: Annie tries to plan an inexpensive personal bachelorette party, but Helen beats her to the punch and convinces the other bridesmaid’s to go to a more conventional bachelorette party in Las Vegas.

New Act II Obstacle: Helen has the other bridesmaids favor and Annie needs to win them back on the trip to Las Vegas.

Raise the Stakes: Annie refuses Helen’s offer to buy her a ticket in First Class with the other bridesmaids, and instead opts for coach.

Predicament #4: Annie is terrified of flying.

Predicament #4 Solution: Helen gives Annie a very strong sedative and a scotch on the rocks.

Predicament #4 Ramifications: Annie gets drunk, invades First Class, causes a stir-up in the plane, and gets the Air Marshall involved. The plane is forced to land in Wyoming.

Obstacle Ramifications: On the bus ride back to Milwaukee, Lillian tells Annie it might be best if Helen takes over Maid of Honor duties and Annie needs to salvage her friendship with Lillian.

New Protagonist’s Objective: Annie wants to repair her friendship with Lillian.

Sub Plot Revival: Annie goes on a date with Officer Rhodes, and he tries to convince her to open up a new bakery. She spends the night with him.

(01:12:33)


SEQUENCE SIX

Sub-Plot Obstacle: After spending the night with Officer Rhodes, Annie is horrified when she wakes up and Rhodes has bought her baking supplies. She tells Rhodes that “last night was a mistake” and she leaves him wondering what he’s done wrong.

Raise the Stakes: Annie gets in an argument with a customer at the Jewelry store and gets fired.

Raise the Stakes: Brynn and Gil evict Annie from the apartment.

Payoff #1: Annie reluctantly moves in with her mother Judy.

Raise the Stakes: Annie arrives at Helen’s expensive bridal shower for Lillian.

Payoff #4: The bridal shower is Parisian themed.

Obstacle Solution: Annie and Lillian have a heart to heart, and the friendship is repaired.

Obstacle Ramifications: Annie gives Lillian a well thought out, hand selected, personal gift. Lillian upstages Annie and gives Lillian a trip to Paris to be fitted for her wedding gown with one of the world’s top designers.

Main Culmination: (Plot Point #4): After Annie throws a tantrum and destroys the Bridal Shower; Lillian disinvites Annie from the wedding. (01:28:12)

Sub-Plot Culmination: Annie’s car breaks down after the Bridal shower disaster and Officer Rhodes arrives angry with her. Her relationship is even more exacerbated when Ted arrives to pick her up. Officer Rhodes and Annie’s relationship is over, and Annie breaks up with Ted.

(01:33:22)


Act III

SEQUENCE SEVEN

Establish Act III Tension: Annie becomes reclusive after being dis-invited to the wedding.

Act III Obstacle: Annie is jobless, friendless, and homeless.

Obstacle Solution: Megan visits Annie and uses tough-love to get her out of her funk and recover her life.

Sub-Plot Revival: Annie makes a cake for Officer Rhodes and drops it off on his doorstep, but he ignores it. She finally gets her taillights fixed at the body shop Officer Rhodes suggested.

Third Act Twist (Plot Point #5): Helen shows up and tells Annie that Lillian has gone missing. While searching for Lillian, Helen breaks down crying and reveals that she was jealous of Annie. Annie discovers that Helen is actually pretty nice once you get to know her, as Lillian had suggested.

(01:48:14)


SEQUENCE EIGHT

The Last Obstacle: Annie needs Officer Rhodes’s help to find Annie, but he’s ignoring her.

Obstacle Solution: After trying numerous things to get Officer Rhodes’s attention, she gets in a fender bender with him. This gets his attention and he uses a cell phone tracer to locate Lillian in the most obvious of places: Her apartment.

Sub-Plot Culmination: Rhodes is still mad at Annie, and she realizes she’s blown it with him.

Resolution: Annie finds Lillian at the apartment and they reconcile. Lillian get’s married, with Annie as her Maid of Honor. After the wedding, Annie and Helen cement a friendship.

Sub-Plot Resolution: Officer Rhodes shows up after the wedding and reconciles with Annie.

Payoff #3: Annie hints at opening a new bakery.

New Status Quo: Annie’s life in in an upswing.

(02:02:56)